Currently reading: F1 latest: Sainz signs for Ferrari, Ricciardo joins McLaren
Rising Spanish star to replace Sebastian Vettel at storied Italian team, while race-winning Aussie snaps up McLaren drive

Rising star Carlos Sainz will replace Sebastian Vettel at the Ferrari Formula 1 team next season, with race winner Daniel Ricciardo switching from Renault to replace Sainz at McLaren.

The two widely expected moves have been confirmed by the two teams this morning (Thursday), shaking up the 2021 grid further following the news that Vettel will departure the Italian squad at this end of this year.

Sainz, 25, has started 102 races for Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren, scoring his maiden podium finish with McLaren in last year's Brazilian Grand Prix. He has signed a two-year deal to join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari and will likely be expected to play a supporting role to the 22-year-old Monégasque driver.

Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto said: "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.”

Seven-time race winner Ricciardo will join McLaren next season. The 30-year-old Australian has signed a "multi-year agreement" to join the Woking-based squad, where he will join rising British star Lando Norris. Ricciardo is currently in his second season driving for the works Renault team.

McLaren F1 team principal Andreas Seidl said Ricciardo 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".

He added: “Carlos is a true professional, a pleasure to work with and we will continue to enjoy going racing with him this year. We all wish him good luck for the next stage in his career when he leaves McLaren.”

Ricciardo began his F1 career at the short-lived HRT team in 2011 before switching to Toro Rosso for 2012. He earned a promotion to the main Red Bull squad for 2014, taking seven wins and twice finishing third in the championship during his five seasons there. He gambled on a switch to the works Renault squad last year, but his best race finish in 2019 was fourth at the Italian Grand Prix.

While McLaren has largely run in the midfield in recent years, the team will switch from Renault to Mercedes engines for 2021, which will likely have been of considerable appeal to Ricciardo.


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Ricciardo's deal with McLaren closes one potential seat to Vettel, and the German's future in F1 is in doubt. Red Bull has already ruled out Vettel returning to the squad and he isn't thought to be under consideration by Mercedes.


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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martin_66 14 May 2020


Looks to me like Ricciardo may have got the better deal here.  He is a proven race winner, Ferrari has been so-so ever since Schumacher retired, Sainz will always have to play second fiddle to Leclerc, and McLaren are long overdue a change in fortunes - the Mercedes engine is a multiple world championship winning engine, and the last time McLaren used a Mercedes engine Lewis Hamilton won a world championship with it.

If Ricciardo is prepared to do a bit of the grunt work, getting the car up to speed (something which Vettel apparently thought himself too good for!), this could just work out very well indeed for Ricciardo.

Peter Cavellini 14 May 2020

The News.

 The way I read it a few days ago was that, Daniel had said if he couldn't get a good seat next year he'd retire, now, he's at McLaren?, as for Vettel, he's in the same position almost a Schumacher was towards the end of his career, could bring the sponsorship but the driving talent had gone, Vettel should just retire.

xxxx 14 May 2020


Sainz got nearly twice as many points as Ricardo last year so unless Sainz is twice as good as Ricardo, which he is not, Ricardo will be getting a better drive this year

Pietro Cavolonero 14 May 2020

More drivel?

McLaren isn't a good seat? 4th in the constructors table in 2019 from 6th in 2018. McLaren are "Best of the rest" if the top three aren't offering a drive.

FastRenaultFan 15 May 2020

Mclaren were using the Renault engine then but soon

They will be using the race winning Mercedes engine and Mclaren have come on a lot since they dumped Honda and the toxic relaitionship they had with them so the new engine should mean them being in the top four maybe even fighting at the front again. S fair play to Danial Riccardo for his move.  It will be interesting to see who Renault now get to fill his vacant seat.