Driver’s reaction. Sainz and Ricciardo’s words.
Sainz and Ricciardo’s reaction to the announcement.
“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. The Spanish driver has just enjoyed the best season of his career at McLaren.
“I am so grateful for my time with Renault and the way I was accepted into the team,” Ricciardo tweeted. “But we aren’t done and I can’t wait to get back on the grid this year. My next chapter isn’t here yet, so let’s finish this one strong. Merci.”
Sainz to Ferrari, Ricciardo switches to McLaren.
Ferrari announced Vettel’s departure on Tuesday and with both teams eager to have their driver lineups stabilised the new deals were concluded by on Thursday morning. The 25-year-old Sainz has been given a two-year contract, while McLaren’s deal with Ricciardo is referred to as a multi-year agreement.
With Leclerc only 22, the two drivers are the youngest pairing at Ferrari for 50 years. Sainz will be expected to play a support role to Leclerc, who Ferrari are now firmly backing as their No 1 driver, but both will have a role in what the team see as a long-term process. They have opted for adaptable young drivers in anticipation of how the sport will change with a budget cap to be imposed in 2021 and new regulations in 2022.
Who’s next for Renault?
Ricciardo’s departure is a blow for Renault. The team had placed great import on paying for a top driver but have failed to hang on to their star asset.
Renault now have an open seat alongside Esteban Ocon for 2021. Fernando Alonso, who won both his world championships with the team, has already been linked with them, as has Vettel. Neither would come cheap, nor would they be forgiving of the team failing to make the moves up the grid they have targeted.