Rome, May 14 (efe-epa).- Spanish Formula One driver Carlos Sainz has signed a two-year contract to drive for Ferrari starting with the 2021 season, the Scuderia said Thursday, 48 hours after announcing a parting of the ways with four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel.
Sainz, 25, is to take Vettel’s place alongside 22-year-old Charles Leclerc of Monaco on what will be Ferrari’s youngest team in five decades.
McLaren Racing said earlier Thursday that Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo inked a deal to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Sainz.
The son of two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz Sr. entered F1 in 2015 with Toro Rosso, moving two years later to Renault. The younger Sainz joined McLaren following the 2018 season.
His highest finish in 102 races was third in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Sainz had his best campaign in 2019, earning sixth place in the driver’s championship. Leclerc, No. 4 last year and with two Grand Prix victories on his resume, will remain Ferrari’s lead driver.
The last Spanish driver to race for Ferrari was Fernando Alonso, who Sainz describes as his role model.
“I am very happy that I will be driving for Scuderia Ferrari in 2021 and I’m excited about my future with the team,” Sainz said. “I still have an important year ahead with McLaren Racing and I’m really looking forward to going racing again with them this season.”
The Ferrari team principal, Mattia Binotto, expressed confidence that the combination of Leclerc and Sainz will allow the Scuderia to return to its winning tradition.
“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,” Binotto said.
“We’ve embarked on a new cycle with the aim of getting back to the top in Formula 1,” the Ferrari boss said. “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.”
In Ricciardo, McLaren is getting a nine-year veteran of F1 who has won seven Grand Prix races and reached the podium on 22 other occasions. EFE