Now it's official: Scuderia Ferrari confirms the rumours swirling around the vacant seat alongside Charles Leclerc for the 2021 and 2022 seasons, which will be occupied by Carlos Sainz. The Maranello outfit opted for a fresh start with the Spaniard, dismissing the other alleged contender, Daniel Ricciardo.
A bet on youth
For the 2021 season, Scuderia Ferrari will have one of the youngest line-ups in the team's history. Born in 1994, the Madrilenian entered Formula 1 in 2015 and offered consistent results ever since, culminating in an unexpected podium with McLaren in the 2019 season.
This choice will certainly mark a new approach in Ferrari's recruitment methods: previously, the team had always opted for seasoned drivers, race winners and, more recently, almost exclusively Championship winners. Naturally, this kind of parametres have become more and more difficult to apply in the hybrid era, prompting a shift in paradigm.
The rest of the grid
This transfer has enormous consequences on the 2021 drivers' market. Initially tipped on the shortlist for the Maranello seat, Daniel Ricciardo has entered a deal with McLaren to replace Sainz, stepping down from the underwhelming Renault project. With the other line-ups looking relatively solid, it looks like Sebastian Vettel deliberately ran out of options.
Considering he is unlikely to settle for a non-race winning car, Renault has little to no hopes of snatching the four-time World Champion, who seems to prefer the option of retirement. Equally unlikely seems the choice of following in Kimi Raikkonen's footsteps, moving to Alfa Romeo to replace his former teammate and 2007 World Champion. The vacant seat in Renault could be filled by one of the youngsters in the French outlet's rich Academy programme, like F2 racer Guanyu Zhou, or by an unexpected return of none other than... Fernando Alonso.
Written by Aurora Dell'Agli