Carlos Sainz will join Ferrari on a two-year contract in place of Sebastian Vettel, the team officially announced on Thursday.
After Vettel and Ferrari confirmed they will part ways on Tuesday morning, Sainz quickly emerged as the favorite for the seat, with negotiations having been ongoing prior to this week’s news. Ferrari has now announced the Spaniard will race for the team in 2021 and 2022, in a move that gives the team its youngest driver line-up since Chris Amon and Jacky Ickx in 1968.
Team principal Mattia Binotto says the combination of Sainz and Charles Leclerc — who have only two wins and 11 podiums between them — marks the start of a new era for Ferrari, as he envisages it will take some time for that team to win another championship.
“I’m pleased to announce that Carlos will join Scuderia Ferrari as from the 2021 championship,” Binotto said. “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.
“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.”
Confirmation of this move and of Daniel Ricciardo replacing Sainz at McLaren comes before any races have been held in 2020, and Sainz acknowledged he needs to continue his momentum with his current team before heading to Maranello.
“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.”