Carlos Sainz, the 25-year-old Spaniard, will join 22-year-old Charles Leclerc in a rare youthful Ferrari line-up for the 2021 F1 season, replacing Sebastian Vettel after signing a two-year deal with arguably the sport’s most famous team.
On a huge day in F1's transfer market, Daniel Ricciardo was earlier confirmed as the driver who will replace Sainz at a Mercedes-powered McLaren team from next year.
It also, finally, put an end to speculation that Lewis Hamilton could join Ferrari. The six-time world champion is expected to sign a new contract at Mercedes after consistently stressing his loyalty to the world champions, according to F1’s official website.
“I am very happy that I will be driving for Scuderia Ferrari in 2021 and I'm excited about my future with the team,” said Sainz, who finished an impressive sixth in last year’s championship.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto told F1 website: “We’ve embarked on a new cycle with the aim of getting back to the top in F1. 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.”
Ferrari believe Sainz, who has just one podium finish from 102 races but can now expect to win some, will be an ideal partner for Leclerc as the team plot a long-overdue return to the top.
“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 Binotto.
At McLaren, Ricciardo, 30, will line up alongside Britain’s Lando Norris, 20, in 2021 after he leaves Renault at the end of this season.
“Daniel is a proven race-winner and his experience, commitment and energy will be a valuable addition to McLaren and our mission to return to the front of the field,” said McLaren’s Seidl.