Official: Ferrari confirm Sainz as Vettel’s replacement for 2021

2021 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr will join Ferrari in 2021 following Sebastian Vettel’s departure from the team.

Ferrari confirmed Sainz has signed a two-year contract to drive for the team.

“With five seasons already behind him, Carlos has proved to be very talented and has shown that he has the technical ability and the right attributes to make him an ideal fit with our family,” said team principal Mattia Binotto.

“We’ve embarked on a new cycle with the aim of getting back to the top in Formula 1. It will be a long journey, not without its difficulties, especially given the current financial and regulatory situation, which is undergoing a sudden change and will require this challenge to be tackled in a different way to the recent past.

“We believe that a driver pairing with the talent and personality of Charles and Carlos, the youngest in the past 50 years of the Scuderia, will be the best possible combination to help us reach the goals we have set ourselves.”

Sainz said he is “excited about my future with the team” but added “I still have an important year ahead with McLaren Racing and I’m really looking forward to going racing again with them this season.”

He posted a three-minute video on social media thanking the team. “Even though this terrible pandemic has put on hold our positive momentum, 2020 is not over yet, and we will be back very soon to give our best,” said Sainz. “There will be time for goodbyes at the end of the year. Until them, heads down and let’s keep pushing.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr’s career progression

YearTeamChampionship position
2015Toro Rosso15th
2016Toro Rosso12th
2017Toro Rosso9th
2018Renault10th
2019McLaren6th
2020McLaren
2021Ferrari

View the current list of 2021 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 148 comments on “Official: Ferrari confirm Sainz as Vettel’s replacement for 2021”

    1. Ferrari has found its drivers, and did it right. Sainz is very young but has a lot of experience. In 2019 he proved to be as fast as anyone in the field but he is clean, does not put himself before of the team, does not make driving mistakes, has good relationship with teammates to help the team grow and develop the car, has good communication with engineers. I can’t see a better option nowadays for Ferrari, finally they’ve nailed it.

      1. Yeah all this talk of Sainz (or whoever) being a number 2 at Ferrari just reminds me of all the comments about Danny Ric joining Red Bull in ‘14. Everyone said the same then.

        Fact is if you want to be number one, you have to prove it. Just ask Vettel.

        I’m super disappointed for Ricciardo, he’s top class and deserves better than the midfield. But Sainz has earned his shot at a top team.

        1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Though as a McLaren fan, I’m annoyed at the prospect of having to support Ferrari too.

      2. Sainz is very young

        He’s not that young, @heming49. He’s probably older than Massa at the time he joined Ferrari as #2 driver.

        1. Calling old a 25 years old guy. Are you ok?

        2. @coldfly
          Sainz is 25 at the moment. I think that’s still fairly young. He has a whole career in front of him.

          1. I think that’s still fairly young. He has a whole career in front of him.

            Massa was younger when joining Ferrari and also had ‘a whole career in front of him’, @kingshark.
            Barichello was merely 1 year older when joining Ferrari and even then some people thought he had ‘a whole career in front of him’.
            The point is that for the rest of his career he might be defined as the #2 driver at Ferrari.

            1. Ferrari and also had ‘a whole career in front of him

              @coldfly to be fair I wouldn’t mind calling the entire time between 2006 and when he got replaced a whole career – it was after all way longer than e.g. KUB’s.

              (it did kind of peak in 2008 but still)

        3. Now it’s only Hamilton and Bottas holding the new generation at the top teams. When they retire we’ll have a new F1.

      3. killmenowkeith
        14th May 2020, 11:04

        How did I know you’d be first to post?

      4. Didn’t he have a ‘bad relationship’ with Max as a teammate?

        1. That was Crashtappen with him…

        2. No, they’ve both stated multiple times that they actually have a good, friendly relationship. I believe that story was more the result of Sainz Snr. dealings behind the screens…

          1. Yup. If you see some of the videos from their channel as well, it looked like they were at a good balance between teammates and mates.

          2. I imagine that was a two way street with Jos anyway.

      5. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        14th May 2020, 11:49

        2019 has been Sainz’s only year that has been pretty much free of mistakes though. Before that he was rather up and down each year.

        Based on his qualifying against Norris this year being equal, if Leclerc can out qualify Vettel, I reckon the gap could well be over half a second quite often unfortunately.

        1. Vettel has been equal or sometimes better on race pace than Leclerc in 2019. However, that can change within a year, and I do believe Leclerc is better than last year. Time to see if Sainz has got what it takes in a top team.Now, we need to wait for Mercedes to confirm their line-up for next year.

          Both Bottas and Hamilton are out of contract this year. I do want Hamilton to confirm his contract extension for Mercedes. Bottas needs to perform this year because Russell could be in competition for his seat in 2020. Even though we have been seeing them racing in a video game, Russell has proven that he can fight. I don’t care if that’s a video game, but they had equal cars, and that could give off a hint to Mercdes to consider him for the 2020 seat. Mercedes are not aggressive unlike Red Bull with their drivers, and we should not exclude Vettel from Mercedes as well.

        2. @thegianthogweed mind you, I get the impression that it could result in some rather entertaining conspiracy theories being promoted by Mark Russell if Sainz were to lose to Leclerc – what is the betting that any time that Leclerc beats Sainz, Mark will claim that it’s because Ferrari is favouring Leclerc?

          1. if Sainz were to lose to Leclerc

            Sainz first has to beat Norris in the 2020 season, anon.
            I expect him to do it (by a smaller margin than 2019), but it would be interesting to read those ‘conspiracy theories’ if it were not to happen.

      6. @heming49

        In 2019 he proved to be as fast as anyone in the field

        Except that a year before he was out-qualified by Hulkenberg who is not the fastest man in F1.

        has good relationship with teammates to help the team grow and develop the car

        The guy must have learned many things from his idol Fernando Alonso, as mentioned by the folks in a previous thread, he can be so disruptive at times.

        I can’t see a better option nowadays for Ferrari

        They surely had, Ricciardo or even Fernando Alonso, however I don’t think any current top team Team Principle has the courage to handle a driver of his caliber.

        1. Who cares about the past? Button beat Alonso, Rosberg beat Hamilton, JEV and even Kvyat beat Ricciardo in the past. So what? Fernando Alonso will be 42 in 2021, not an option. Ricciardo could have been one, maybe if he had not been that much interested in only earning money, but Ferrari has chosen Sainz over him, so…

    2. Sainz has something that Ricciardo could never offer. And that is not only the speed, but the relative calm that a 25 year old can have to grow within the project and try to develop a winning car post 2022 regs. Ricciardo does not stop talking about his dreams of a championship, how he sees himself as a future champion. If he had the car, he would not think about Leclerc or Ferrari and that would create tension. At the end of the day, Ferrari has been around for +70 years in F1. They know what they are doing.

      1. Who doesn’t love Ferrari, but how has it gone?.. it was thin on the ground, then they had that Schumacher guy at the same time as two guys now running the circus and it was pretty good. Then there was a blip and … crickets.

      2. They know what they are doing.

        @maranelli Watch any race from 2019, and you’ll see that there are more clueless people at Ferrari than Red Bull and Mercedes put together.

        1. Stewart Moir
          14th May 2020, 14:46

          More than once last year I wondered if the person running the pit stops at Ferrari was over at the gelato stand when the BOX, BOX call went out over the radio.

    3. Good choice by Ferrari. If they wanted to have a +30-years-old driver with experience in some F1 wins, they would have sticked to Vettel. It makes no sense bringing Ricciardo into the team. Sainz can offer other things to Ferrari, and that is why they went for him. He is smart, cold in track. Even with high pressure moments he does not crack and has proven so because he has been close to the podium several times and did not make mistakes (Brazil was heroic), he has been in a position to climb up the field because he started last and did not make mistakes and got to the points like in Austin 2015 or Austria 2019. He also speaks Italian, which surely does not harm anyone.

    4. I like these developments, although I will badly miss Vettel if he retires. The more top drivers in cars is good, and with Ricciardo probably about the fourth or fifth best driver in F1, it is good that he leads a team who are aiming to go back to winning races.

    5. A brave decision by Ferrari. Ricciardo would’ve been just a solid number two driver, but I feel like Sainz won’t settle for that role. Fireworks coming up in Ferrari.

      1. @huhhii I feel the exact opposite. Ricciardo wouldn’t have settled for a number two role, he already left Red Bull for that reason. Sainz on the other hand has shown he’s a capable leader for a midfield team but so far he’s not been in a top team. He’ll have to prove first that he has what it takes to fight at the very top just like Leclerc did last year.

      2. @huhhii I would think that’s why Ricciardo is in a better situation than Sainz. Ferrari have made it very clear who will be the no1, Sainz will be filling the same role as Bottas at Merc.
        Ricciardo will be at the very least equal in a car that’s improving, the Ferrari not so much. Also it can’t be forgotten the many tactical mistakes made by Ferrari, It wasn’t all Vettel.

      3. Ricciardo would’ve been just a solid number two driver, but I feel like Sainz won’t settle for that role.

        Quite the opposite, @huhhii.

        1. @retardedf1sh @coldfly I just don’t see Ricciardo beating Leclerc. Sainz was closer to Verstappen’s pace when they were team mates compared to Ricciardo and Max in Red Bull. Sainz also had a mega season and he is still young and probably improving. Ricciardo has already peaked in my mind and while he is a good driver I don’t see him as a WDC-capable driver. Sainz on the other hand can reach that level.

          @johnrkh Yes, McLaren-Mercedes seems like a better option than Renault works team. But it’s hard to predict how the ruel changes will shake up team order.

          1. @huhhii Sainz was barely closer to a rookie Verstappen than Ricciardo was to an established one. Plus, I feel that Hulkenberg is the best reference compared to Verstappen and Kvyat, and Ricciardo performed better than Sainz against him.

            1. @mashiat Sainz was also a rookie that season. Both him and Verstappen have improved massively.

              I feel Hulk underperformed last season and was driving better versus Sainz.

            2. @mashiat Sainz out-qualified Verstappen when they were teammates, and suffered much greater points losses due to reliability.

          2. @huhhii

            People seem to forget that Hulkenberg beat Sainz in 2018.. and in 2019 a rookie Norris out qualified him and looked equally impressive. Personally, I don’t think Sainz is as good as Ricciardo, but then again Ferrari want a #2 driver for Leclerc, and Sainz does seem to fit the bill better.

            1. @todfod it doesn’t necessarily seem to be forgotten – rather, it seems that there are some here who prefer to simply state that “it doesn’t count” and can be glossed over completely.

            2. Sainz was faster than Hulk in 2018 between the Spanish GP until 2019 plans were announced. Besides, no driver with many F1 seasons in their careers has always beaten their teammates. Ferrari made it clear that they do not want a second driver, but two number 1, and that is why they went for Sainz.

            3. Sainz was faster than Hulk in 2018 between the Spanish GP until 2019 plans were announced.

              To use your own words, @heming49, this is “an ugly way to show facts”; pick only the data which support your beliefs.
              He only beat Hulkenberg from France, and only so on a few occasions.

            4. @anon I personally wouldn’t be that willing to dismiss people crossing something out as anomalies – e.g. HAM’s 2011 was pretty bad but the more seasons have passed since then the more reason he seems to give us to indeed pretend 2011 doesn’t exist.

            5. @davidnotcoulthard

              But is it an anomaly? Sainz has only convincingly beaten Kvyat so far.. and he’s been beaten by Verstappen & Hulkenberg.. and I thought it was pretty even between him and Norris last year, with Norris not being closer on the scoreboard due to more bad luck with his machinery.

              I’m not saying Sainz isn’t a goo driver.. but he’s only good enough to be #2 at Ferrari. When it comes to ability, it’s hard to say that Sainz has been more impressive Ricciardo.

        2. Sainz was closer to Verstappen’s pace when they were team mates compared to Ricciardo and Max in Red Bull.

          Depends which VER-RIC season you pick to support your argument, @huhhii.

          Don’t get me wrong, I am a Sainz fan (driver and person) and am stoked for the guy.
          But we shouldn’t fool ourselves after 1 great season at McLaren. He held up well against VER in their rookie seasons, but since then he hasn’t been that spectacular until arriving at McLaren.
          He can show this season (if/when it starts) if 2019 was a one-off, or if he’s really lifted his performance to the level of a top driver.

          1. People keep saying that Sainz held up well – did he? He lost 18-49 on points to 17 yo Verstappen. I don’t remember whether there were any particular reasons for this, but it doesn’t show any freak results skewing that number in Verstappen’s favour.

            Ricciardo was leading or, at worst, matching Verstappen until their last half season together when Verstappen made a step up and Ricciardo got hit by bad luck.

            I don’t think there’s a comparison.

            1. Except beating a rookie, Sainz has achieved nothing yet in F1.

            2. Man, he lost 5-4 to Verstappen (both were rookies) in races where none of them DNF. Max scored more points but only did when he had the car. In Austin he was P4. Sainz finished P7. The thing is that Sainz started LAST. Sainz outqualified Max, he held up very well. No doubt.

            3. Fair enough, it seems that Sainz performed better than I remember.

              Still, we are comparing a rookie that had 1 season in cars behind him with one that had 5.

              For me Sainz is solid driver, a safe pair of hands. I would be really surprised if he set the world on fire.

          2. Amazing, you try to convince us that you like Sainz but you say that he is too old for Ferrari because he is 25. Try not to cry because of Sainz is going to win races, please.

            1. you say that he is too old for Ferrari because he is 25

              Where and when did I say that?
              Try reading and understanding before you comment, @heming49.

              PS I’m not trying to convince you of anything, except maybe for the inconsistencies in your own comments.

      4. Completely agree. Ricciardo would rush things up in order to try to win the championship and would be frustrated when he couldn’t beat Leclerc as it happened with Verstappen in 2018. Then he left for a ghost project in Renault. Ferrari won’t risk for that, instead, they’ve found a quick, young, and team player in Sainz. Who knows if he or Leclerc will eventually be the number 1 driver. Massa was supposedly number 2 in 2007 and then in 2008…

      5. @huhhii

        Why do you assume Leclerc won’t be the second driver, if Ferrari have one?

        I find the degree of hype around Leclerc baffling. Yes, he’s a v promising young driver, but he’s nothing more than that. Comparison to Hamilton at the same stage of his career makes it obvious.

        End of the day, Charlie only narrowly beat a team-mate who has just been sacked for underperformance.

        I think it’s beyond obvious that Sainz should be the lead driver, and if Ferrari can’t see that the hype surrounding Leclerc is largely unjustified, then they’re going to make such huge mistakes that the last few seasons will look competently managed in comparison.

        1. Sainz couldn’t beat a 19-year-old rookie like Norris in qualifying, so why should we expect him to be on the same level as Leclerc, who I rate higher than Norris?

          1. Well, you have no reason to rate Leclerc higher than Norris, except for narrowly beating the man who got more convincingly beaten by Ricciardo years before (and beating Ericsson, who was… eh, significantly worse than all of his many backmarker teammates by all accounts). It’s the same thing with Kubica; for all we know Russell is as good as Hamilton when he debuted. I wouldn’t dismiss this new generation that readily.

          2. @Mashiat

            You buy into the hype. Fine, but _why_?

          3. Yeah, he only doubled him in points and finished P6 in the WDC in front of two drivers while Norris was P11.

        2. Leclerc in his second season in F1 got the pole trophy in the second ebst car on the grid. What more does he have to do deserve the hype?

          Ferrari extended his contract until 2024. It’s not to be their number two driver.

          1. He got the pole trophy in what is almost unanimously agreed to have been by far the fastest car in qualifying. Might as well make a fuss about him consistently beating the Williams.

            1. And let us not forget how much the engine irregularity has helped with him getting the pole positions.

          2. @paeschli

            I wouldn’t call the Ferrari the 2nd best on the grid… at least not in qualifying. By cheating with the engine regs they had the fastest car in qualifying… but still.. I get your point. It was no easy task to take 7 poles in your first season in a team, especially when his 4 time WDC teammate only managed 2.

    6. I’m not saying it’s the wrong decision, but it’s a very “un-Ferrari” decision. They’ve just confirmed a line-up with 2 victories between them. Leclerc is quality and Sainz certainly seems to have that potential too, but for me hasn’t convincingly beaten any of Verstappen, Hulkenberg or Norris in straight fights. He certainly deserves a shot and it’ll be interesting to see whether he challenges Leclerc or settles in as the second driver.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        14th May 2020, 10:56

        I’m getting some Alesi/Capelli vibes from this too @ben-n. Not totally inexperienced drivers, but not very accomplished and not proven car developers. Massa/Räikkönen in 2007 was also a rather young line-up at the time, but they had the very solid technical baseline from the Schumacher era. With new regs on the horizon, fear a repeat of the F92A…

      2. Hey man, read what Binotto said. They needed younger drivers. First Elkann and Camilleri, then Binotto himself, now the drivers. Everything is getting younger in Ferrari and they are preparing for 2022. Sainz outqualified Verstappen, was quicker than Hulk between the Spanish GP until 2019 plans were announced and just doubled Norris in points. You forgot to mention Kvyat in that list, a driver who outscored Ricciardo in 2015.

        1. @heming49 – I very clearly highlighted convincingly in my post. Sure he’s had the beating of them sometimes or often, but not convincingly. I’m sure he’ll do a good job, but I’d have preferred to see a statement signing such as Ricciardo or even Alonso or Hamilton.

          The youth argument doesn’t hold up for me here… Binotto is older than Toto Wolff. Sainz is older than Max Verstappen.

          An incredible turnaround from Sainz though, having been in danger of not having a seat at all even a few years ago.

    7. Excellent – the most exciting line-up Ferrari has had for a long while. People like to underestimate and criticise Sainz but I think he’ll take the challenge to Leclerc like Ricciardo probably couldn’t on a consistent basis. I really don’t believe the ‘he’s been signed to be a number 2’ rubbish – I think Ferrari has realised that doesn’t work after years of failure.

    8. I don’t doubt for a second that he’s gonna be a good match for Leclerc. The question is – does Ferrari need it at the moment? Sainz is not going to settle for a Number 2 driver status, he’s definitely got the talent to fight his teammate on equal terms.

      1. I don’t think they’ve gone the right way but that we’ll get to see that head to head is a good thing. Leclerc is impressive, fast and rational. I think Sainz will live in interesting times.

      2. @pironitheprovocateur

        ‘Sainz is not going to settle for a Number 2 driver status, he’s definitely got the talent to fight his teammate on equal terms.’

        Did you mean to type Leclerc rather than Sainz there?

        Obviously Sainz isn’t behind Leclerc at the moment. He should be considered well ahead of him, but he’s done more than enough to be considered equal as a bare minimum.

        Try applying Occam’s razor.
        Frankly, I don’t see any major change at Ferrari in this move. They’ve simply signed another lead driver to mentor Leclerc, having decided Vettel was past it. Sainz is the best, most established and experienced driver willing to sign for Ferrari in their current mess, and that’s all that’s going on here.

        I just don’t get the hype aroundnd Leclerc. He lucked into two wins at power tracks last season, and apart from that had a very poor time of it. What ate you seeing in him?

        1. Beating a 4 timew orld champion along the way. If Leclerc isn’t the new Hamilton, I don’t know what is.

          1. @paeschli

            Yes, he narrowly beat Vettel. Who apparently was fired for underperforming, so…

            I think it’s pretty obvious that Leclerc will be at least as good as, say, Hulkenberg, once he matures, and might be as good as top drivers have to be. It’s no surprise to me that he’s being tried at a big team. It’s utterly incomprehensible that anyone suggests he’s done more than the bare minimum to keep his seat in his first season at Ferrari, though. Without Vettel’s couple of big mistakes, Leclerc’d have finished with fewer points than someone we all agree had a dreadful season.

          2. Leclerc is a long way off being the next big thing, 82 race wins and 6 WDC to be blunt. Lets see how he handles Vettel with nothing to lose this season. Verstappen is still the prime candidate for the next top driver spot and I don’t even like him.

    9. We’ve embarked on a new cycle with the aim of getting back to the top in Formula 1. It will be a long journey, not without its difficulties, especially given the current financial and regulatory situation, which is undergoing a sudden change and will require this challenge to be tackled in a different way to the recent past.

      That should put to rest both the idea of Ferrari winning titles any time soon and the concept many people had that Ferrari cared about getting a “number two” driver for Leclerc. Binotto, like anyone with a brain, apparentely is well-aware that the reason for Ferrari’s 13-year title drought is not in the cockpit. What Ferrari needs is to refocus itself and recreate the leading structure that led to the powerhouse of the early 00s. Having two young drivers under contract serves that purpose more than hiring veterans who want results now. Especially Ricciardo, who’s been vocal about wanting to challenge for championships sooner rather than later and just dropped a team for not delivering.

      1. That sums it up nicely @klon

        Ferrari have quite a way to go before they have the right complete structure and car. A Ricciardo, Alonso or. Hamilton would be demanding results from race1 and I don’t think they’re quite there yet.

        Congratulations to Sainz – he’s quietly gotten the job done and I think he’ll surprise a few people including his old Toro Rosso team mate.

      2. Couldn’t have said it any better, @klon! I wonder how long its mindset will last, though. At Maranello everything seems so volatile.

      3. I don’t think looking back is the answer to their future, in fact I think that’s what has hurt them. The Mercedes model is clearly the one that works best. Their continual drive to improve, analyse and fix their weaknesses and ultimately keep positive is a sight to behold. The last Ferrari glory period was built on the base of a no1 driver who got unlimited testing mileage with the most reliable cars they’d ever built. They lifted the bar above that of Williams and Mclaren and they need to find that again now.

      4. @klon Yes I guess that’s how they’re thinking

    10. Still not convinced that Sainz is better than Ricciardo. But I will hope and pray for the best.

      Ferrari with one of the youngest and least experienced driver pairing! Who would have thought that would happen after a series of only conservative & proven driver choices (Kimi – 2007, Alonso – 2010, Kimi – 2014, Vettel – 2015) for the better part of last 20 years.

      Also makes sense financially

      1. Exactly because of that they needed a younger pairing. Sainz has 5 years and more than 100 GP of experience anyway. How much more do you need? Remember Hamilton in 2007, Vettel in 2009, Ricciardo in 2014, Verstappen in 2016 and Leclerc in 2019 had far less experience and it worked out for them in top teams.

        1. @heming49 but Red Bull wasn’t a top team when they promoted Vettel in 2009. In 2008 they were seventh in the WCC, behind Toro Rosso, and Vettel got more points by that both the Red Bulls together. It was the regulation changes for 2009 that helped Newey build a great car and made Red Bull a top team.

          1. They weren’t a top team in 2009, they only had the better car in the whole season, ok.

            1. @heming49 have you read the whole comment? Up until 2009, Red Bull was a midfield team.

              2005: 7th in the WCC
              2006: 7th in the WCC
              2007: 5th in the WCC
              2008: 7th in the WCC

              To put it into perspective, here are the numbers for Renault:

              2016: 9th in the WCC
              2017: 6th in the WCC
              2018: 4th in the WCC
              2019: 5th in the WCC

              Would whoever driver they choose to replace Ricciardo be going into a top team? For all we know they might hit the spot with the 2021 regulations and become contenders for race wins and the championship, but as of right now they’re a middlefield team.

            2. They weren’t a top team AHEAD OF 2009. @heming49 And ahead of 2009 was exactly when the promoted VET, a driver that had just finished a season outscoring the entire team, being the first non-Ferrari-team Ferrari-engined winner and almost denying HAM the title (ok GLO’s situation was not that simple) along the way.

    11. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
      14th May 2020, 11:00

      I think people here righly don’t undestimate sainz’s drive to compete. He will not sit back and accept nr. 2 This could be explosive and very entertaining.

    12. Lets be frank, he couldn’t beat Hulkenberg at Renault, how is he going to beat Leclerc at Ferrari. I think he’ll quickly find himself being Ferraris new Bottas.

      1. Boring argument. Button outscored Alonso in 2015, Rosberg did the same with Hamilton in 2016 and JEV scored more points than Ricciardo in 2012. Even Kvyat did the same with Danny Ric in 2015. So what?

        1. JEV deserves that second Red Bull seat much more than Albon, Gasly or Kvyat

        2. @heming49, For the examples you mentioned there are contextual reasons for why one driver outscored another. Alonso had truly horrible reliability in 2015, the worst of any driver iirc. Rosberg was a great driver who with a bit of ruthlessness and a bit of luck beat arguably the best driver ever in one of four seasons together. The other examples are again a mix of unreliability and drivers in their first years learning the trade in the highest tier of motorsport.

          The reason for saying what I said is that Sainz had several seasons under his belt when he went up against Hulkenberg who is now out of F1. Sainz might’ve matched or outscored him the next season if he had stayed at Renault, I’d judge their talent fairly equal I’ll give him that. Instead he went and beat Norris, a rookie driver in his first season.

          Given what I’ve seen from Sainz over the years, I put him like I said in the same category as Bottas, Hulkenberg and others. In my opinion he isn’t on the level of Leclerc, Ricciardo or indeed the driver he replaces: Vettel. My prediction is that already this year we will see Sainz and Norris much more evenly matched, and in 2021 it won’t take long for Leclerc to establish superiority over Sainz. This may be what Ferrari aims for anyway. But again, he’ll be “the Bottas” of the team.

          1. The thing is that Ferrari (a team that has been around F1 for 70 years) has chosen him and not Bottas, not Hulk nor Ricciardo. So I believe we have no other choice but to trust Ferrari’s judgment. They know more about F1 than you and me.

            1. @heming49 We have every reason to doubt their judgement though. They have clearly been wrong for years on their driver choices.

            2. @heming49, Fair enough. But then lets also take into regard Red Bulls and Renaults judgement. Red Bull had more faith in Gasly and let Sainz go. In hindsight, Gasly wasn’t mentally ready but thats another topic. Renault who already had Sainz driving for them then passed him over and went on to sign Ricciardo.

    13. Sainz just was in the right place at the right time as much as you can be.
      Just over a year ago, he got comprehensively beaten by Hulkenberg at Renault, then got ousted by the incoming Ricciardo.
      He has an apparently great season beating his rookie-teammate who – albeit being highly rated – is a somewhat unknown quality in the races (but not in qualifying).
      Suddenly he finds himself in one of the top teams, leaving the driver who beat him two seasons ago out of formula one and the driver who pushed him out of Renault taking his vacated seat at McLaren…
      How fortune can change.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        14th May 2020, 14:14

        @jon-thereyougo

        Yes, without a doubt Sainz was the greatest winner of all the Renault drivers. However, I’m not sure that moving to Ferrari is the right move for any driver.

    14. First time in 30 years I don’t like both Ferrari drivers. Don’t wanne say overrated. Just meh.

      1. First time since 2008 I think Ferrari has a good line-up.

        1. Good is not enough for Ferrari

          1. @rvg013

            See the bright side.. at least it’s stronger that their current line up.

    15. Sainz and Ricciardo sign for 2021 before the 2020 season has even begun. I can’t think of any recent examples of that: has that happened in the past decade or so? Obviously it’s already May, but still, interesting.

      1. @enigma Alonso moving to McLaren was announced at the end of 2005

      2. @enigma last I remember would be Alonso: he announced in… March (April?) 2006 he would be driving for McLaren in 2007.

        1. @warheart Yep, that’s the latest I can remember as well. Now we’ve got two! Three if you count Vettel.

        2. @warheart @enigma It happened even earlier than that. Alonso’s move to Mclaren for 2007 was announced at the tail-end of 2005.

    16. Reminds me a lot to McLaren’s 2013 situation…

    17. With two young drivers, Ferrari can now spend time rebuilding. Not sure about Ricciardo at McLaren though.

      1. Yeah it just looks like he carries frustration behind the smile, I’m afraid it might be detrimental to what McLaren has last year.

        1. If a championship doesn’t come by 2022, I see Ricciardo leaving F1.

          He’s been talking about wanting to be world champion for five years straight but can’t commit to a project – leaving Red Bull and Renault instead of helping the team become world champions.

          1. Red Bull didn’t want him to stay. Renault don’t want to win. Blaming Ricciardo is bizarre.

            1. That’s simply nonsense. Red Bull definitely wanted him to stay —and did have a proper backup plan…

            2. *did not…

            3. Like search said, wrong, red bull gave ricciardo all he wanted, money included, but he wanted a change, bad move, knew it before already in most cases.

            4. Red Bull clearly spoke out that they were building the whole team around Verstappen. They might have wanted Ricciardo to stay and be their #2, but if you want to be champion that’s not going to work.

            5. Oh, come on. Red Bull committed to Verstappen. They didn’t give DR the old heave ho, but made it clear he wasn’t going to be number one there.

              I don’t think RB made the wrong decision. They could only keep one top driver happy while not having a winning car, and didn’t think they’d have a winning car again soon enough to be worth investing in Ricciardo, for a start, and probably also reckoned Verstappen is a better bet overall.

              To suggest Ricciardo left because of a lack of commitment to a programme designed to make Max champion in a few years doesn’t make sense as a criticism.

              To be blunt, I think Danny Rich is incredibly unlucky in timing. Almost any other time in F1 history he’d be a potential champion, but right now he’s facing an outstanding field and probably rightly isn’t seen as in the top three or four drivers.

    18. From afar it is difficult to tell how good Carlos is compared to Daniel, but I would have thought Daniel was the better choice for Ferrari, but Ferrari know better. Carlos did finish last year with more points than Daniel, and Daniel was Disqualified at one race (which I disagreed with). Anyway, congratulations to Carlos and Daniel for getting their respective contracts with two great teams.

      1. @drycrust “but Ferrari know better”

        Do they though? Their choice for Vettel and Raikkonen didn’t pan out that well. I still have to see Leclerc actually live up to the hype (only 2 wins out of 7 poles isn’t really a good stat).

        Now they pick Sainz over Ricciardo. Perhaps they could even gotten Hamilton and finally had a proper champion driver.

        They think they know better obviously, but year after year they keep showing that they make the wrong choices.

        1. Ricciardo had his shot in a top team and blew it. Sainz proved to be as fast as Verstappen in 2015 and faster than any other driver in the midfield (including two Red Bull drivers) in 2019.

    19. I believe these moves make a lot of sense and will result in some good driver pairings, a win-win all round (except for Renault). However I’m disappointed how quickly silly season seems to have resolved itself, so hear me out on this.
      Mercedes still haven’t committed beyond 2021 and with rumours that Toto’s off to Aston Martin and the likelihood of manufacturers wanting to cut back after the Coronavirus, what if 2021 is their last year and they want to go out with a bang, replacing Bottas with Vettel.

      1. Vettel is expensive. But I see them replacing Bottas with Russel tho

      2. @yossarian Bottas is a better driver than Vettel is. Bottas at least manages much more often to make it to the finish line without spinning or crashing.

        Even if Vettel would be a few thousands faster (and even that is a question mark). Just one spin or crash extra makes a much bigger difference.

        Vettel on average didn’t score more points per race than Raikkonen in 2018. Vettel might have been perceived as faster, but with all his blunders, he squandered over 140 points to Hamilton that season. For 2017 it was close to 60 points. Losing him both titles to Hamilton.

    20. Charles and Carlos are the same name?

      1. Yes it is, English and Spanish language respectively

    21. I have to say, I know the intentions are good, but that video is a little self-indulgent – does anyone else think so? I have mixed feelings about saying how wonderful everything is, but basically saying, well I have a better offer than you guys so see you later. It just feels a little, how to put it, disingenuous. Maybe it’s just me.

    22. Still not convinced by this, to be honest. As I’ve said before, Ferrari are losing so much more with Vettel than merely a fast driver. Leclerc clearly benefitted hugely from having Seb as a teammate, and despite his talent I think he still has a fair amount to learn before becoming the complete team leader that Ferrari seem to think he’s ready to be.

      I can’t help but compare it to when McLaren brought in Kovalainen to replace Alonso in 2008. Hamilton seemed to lose a lot of his consistency compared to when he was pushing Alonso in his first season, even though 2008 was the championship year (largely due to equally scrappy seasons from his rivals). I can see a similar dip happening to Leclerc.

      Having said that, I would love to be proven wrong, and there is a feel-good factor around Carlos’ rise from Red Bull reject, to rejuvenating McLaren, to landing one of the most coveted positions in motorsports. And it is refreshing to see, in an era where top drives are dominated by youngsters groomed by junior programs from the moment they first sit in a car, that someone like Carlos, something of a journeyman, can graft his way to a top ride. I still have my reservations, but I do hope it goes well.

    23. Here’s a song for all of you here to enjoy listening following this ‘fully expected’ confirmation: https://youtu.be/4TYv2PhG89A

      If he wins a race next year, this song should be played instead of the Spanish and Italian national anthems.
      Forza Operatore Regolare.

    24. I’m very excited to see how Charles and Carlos get on. I’ll be cheering for the yellow team from Enstone, but I’d also love to see the two Ferrari drivers do well. They are a cool pair of guys and great drivers too. It’ll be great to watch them.

    25. Really wanted Daniel Ricciardo in the other seat but I’ll give Sainz an open mind
      Maybe we’re rebuilding and disclaimer I absolutely love this team and I bleed red, both physically and metaphorically but let’s be honest; our pre season testing wasn’t that good (even if it was just pre season testing you could feel the vibe)
      But anyway, we don’t support the Ferrari drivers we support the team and the team chose Sainz.
      If he is better than Bottas I’ll be satisfied, in racecraft hopefully he’ll be a nuisance to the other guys
      If this is a rebuilding thing, then I’m behind the team all the way, even if it would mean 3-5 years of no WDC, I tune in for the Scarlett red on the tarmac
      Forza Ferrari

      1. @Jeorge Rarely have wiser words been spoken. We Ferrari fans don’t care about drivers we want Ferrari to win and if this pairing manages it then they will win a place in our hearts.

    26. Ricciardo to McLauren, Sainz to Ferrari?!?

      Didn’t think I’d ever say this, but THANK YOU COVID-19! :DD

      1. Thanks for making me stay home from unpaid work also! But yes, these moves are interesting, definitely don’t think vettel had anything left in him, although ricciardo at ferrari would’ve been stronger I think.

    27. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      14th May 2020, 12:47

      Still can’t help but think all Ferrari want in that 2nd seat is exactly that – a 2nd to Leclerc. Obviously jumping into a Ferrari is a big step up in terms of potential of poles, victories and championships but it’s pretty clear Ferrari know which of the pair they want that from. In some ways going to them might not be as positive for Sainz as it appears – especially if he just gets expected to trail and support Leclerc.

      Also, Sainz is good. Even very good. He was reasonably close to Verstappen and probably better than Kvyat, but struggled against Hulkenberg and wasn’t hugely far ahead of Norris. He seems a pretty ‘safe’ 2nd for Ferrari. If I was him I’d have stayed at McLaren.

      1. @rocketpanda Well looking what drivers were available I think Sainz was one of the best choices but they now they don’t have a driver who has won a championship (if we don’t count -07 last time was 1995). I don’t know how close other drivers were to get that seat alongside Leclerc but personally I would have chosen Ricciardo. Alonso? Why not but it could have gone a lot worse than before and it would not had the contiuity what Ferrari needs. Hamilton? I could have not seen him besides Leclerc. But in the end Sainz is better n.2 driver for Leclerc than Ricciardo.

        Could he become the new Alonso?

    28. I read this on Twitter and I’m like wow :

      Sainz career is a repeat of Alonso’s.

      Alonso: Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari
      Sainz: STR(Minardi), Renault, McLaren, Ferrari

      1. Yes, with the important difference that at the time alonso joined or stayed with them, renault, mclaren and ferrari were top teams, while at sainz’s time only ferrari is, so it’s a chance he never got.

    29. What a disappointment, Sainz will be a solid number 2 for Leclerc, no more. I think Ferrari cannot afford a repeat of Brazil 2019. On the other hand, I think the whole situation was mismanaged by Ferrari since drivers announcements in F1 are usually made around September. They should have waited a bit more in order to release Vettel.

      It was suggested however by the Spanish media that Vettel has triggered all this by leaking the information about his departure to the German media which pushed Ferrari to react quickly. The question is whether Ferrari will enforce team orders between Vettel & Leclerc in 2020, if the season will ever take place, or will they let them race like they did with Raikkonen.

      1. @tifoso1989 I always wonder why people think Leclerc is that good. He didn’t really impress me last season. Sure he was slightly better than Vettel, but that hardly means anything.

        I felt Leclerc was especially poor on race pace. At some point he figured out how he could set a decent Q3 lap, but it always looked like the only way he could achieve that was to compromise his setup for the race too much. Resulting in a lackluster race from pole.

        1. @f1osaurus

          I always wonder why people think Leclerc is that good

          He is indeed very good. To come to a team like Ferrari and establish himself very quickly in a car that he barely know. He was quicker than Vettel in the race in Australia and was about to attack him till Ferrari used team orders and in Bahrain he took pole position and led the race till his engine failed.
          If you wonder why people think Leclerc is that good, you have to see his qualifying streak for 7 successive races against a confirmed one-lap ace like Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc has said that he changed his approach in qualy in order to improve his performances, however suggesting that his qualy performances are down to the set up is completely nonsense.
          He also proved that he can win races by fending off faster cars (Belgium and Monza) and he is the only driver on the grid that doesn’t fear Max Verstappen in wheel to wheel battles.

          1. @tifoso1989

            suggesting that his qualy performances are down to the set up is completely nonsense.

            So you are saying he’s a crappy racer? Or how do you want to explain his poor race pace?

            The difference between his race pace and Q3 pace was quite apparent. Exactly from the moment he said that he figured out how to set a Q3 lap and indeed did improve somewhat in Q3.

            1. Last year Ferrari was poor on Race pace period, we had the most poles but when it came to the race we just didn’t have the front end downforce we had in 2018
              Mercedes on the other hand was the complete opposite
              When Leclerc was announced to replace Kimi everyone was ‘he’s overhyped, he’s too young (1 year experience, he should’ve had 1 more year at Haas’
              The fact that he adapted to the team this quickly is testament
              If he can only get better from here then I am an optimistic Ferrari fan

            2. @f1osaurus
              In race conditions Ferrari wasn’t as good as RBR/Mercedes and that was clear from their long runs simulation in Friday practice sessions. The difference in pace between qualy and race is due to their low downforce approach and that their Qualyfing engine modes are not available in race trim.

            3. @tifoso1989 Nope that’s also not it, because Leclerc als was poorer compared to Vettel on race pace.

    30. For me it means Ferrari is going for a long term setup where drivers are in place for at least 3 years, and not move out of aspiration or frustration like Ricciardo might likely do.

      Even though I doubt Sainz will be a good wingman personality wise, maybe the thinking is that he is more likely to be wasted by Leclerc’s speed than Ricciardo would. Ferrari saw that Sainz could not really outqualify a rookie last year, and against Leclerc it will likely be a whitewash so there would not even be a need for team orders. He would be behind anyway.

      1. True. Sainz doesn’t seem likely to match Leclerc in qualifying, which means lesser headaches for the team about which driver gets the lead strategy for the race. I think Sainz could develop into a solid Bottas like #2 driver… a driver who occasionally challenge the #1 driver and consistent enough to trouble the Hamiltons and Verstappens when Leclerc isn’t having a great weekend.

        If you go to see, all the top 3 teams have adopted the same strategy with their 2nd driver. Albon, Bottas and Sainz might not be the cream of the crop, but they’re solid performers and manageable individuals.

    31. antony obrien
      14th May 2020, 14:24

      Sainz is no angel, well to be exact, his family are lets say the equal opposite of a John Button. He’ll certainly help Ferrari more than the sadly declined Vettel. I’d love to see Vetts pop up somewhere else, maybe a more left field team than the ultra cautious Scuderia. A Haas drive would fit more but they couldn’t afford him despite the super high profile he would bring. All drivers are flawed but unless your name is Kimi, a WDC will get criticised for any weaknesses more than most. He has not reacted well to that its fair to say.

      Of course we have one more season of him, or do we? I cant think of a sport on the planet that is less suited to a quick return than F1. Id be staggered if it got going at all but a week is a long time in covid.

    32. Good for Seinz aswell. Considering he was 6th last year, only way forward is by getting a faster car.

      Ferrari will probably be decent next year, but no guarantees

      What a team though? Two youngsters a rookie #1 driver and veteran teenager #2. For Seinz this will be really interesting once he gets settled in, he is reaching his peak.

      We will also see very soon what is LeClerc made of, so many questions will be answered.

    33. I feel this is yet another missed opportunity for Ferrari. Vettel was clearly a bad choice, bringing back Raikkonen was a bad choice and I feel putting their hopes on Leclerc is also a bad choice. Finally they have the chance to do the right thing and they go for another gamble.

      Leclerc never looked like the upcoming hero they make him out to be. Are they hoping the hype will make it happen or do they really see something in him that he hasn’t really shown on track? He only barely beat Vettel and that’s setting the bar very low. Ricciardo utterly destroyed Vettel when they were in the same team.

      Vettel was there supposed hero, but it was clear for years that he was just not up to the task. Now Leclerc is supposed to be the hero, but let’s be honest he hasn’t really show he has that in him.

      They really need a driver that can actually come near to extracting the maximum from the car. In 2017 and 2018 Ferrari had the car to win the championship. 2018 even by a big margin.

      2019 they could also have won many races. Bahrain, Baku, Canada, Austria, Russia, Japan, Mexico, but they won none of those. They really need a driver that actually brings those wins home. Or better yet, one that even manages to steal these wins away.

      So Leclerc didn’t show he could do that, but will Sainz? Sainz is a decent driver and actually probably better than Leclerc, but does he have it in him to be their team leader?

    34. Ferrari will have two Charles in the team. And two Carlos. For they are the same name!

    35. Thank god.
      This stupidity with purely-media-created fake story about Hamilton joining Ferrari will now finally die out.

    36. A good choice for Ferrari. Sainz is an excellent driver already with good experience.
      It seems to me that they will make a good couple with Leclerc and it will be necessary to see who manages to excel.
      Personally I would have preferred Ricciardo but the same I am very happy with Sainz.

    37. There will be another 20 years with no WDC for Ferrari. Mattia, it’s your decision …

    38. Sainz was flattered last year due to Landos inexperience. Can’t see him getting the better of Leclerk….

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