Formula 1 is going through a confusing time in 2020. In case the cancellation of half the Grands Prix of the season wasn’t enough, we were met with the news of veteran, Sebastian Vettel leaving his Scuderia Ferrari team for good yesterday. However, the drama didn’t end these as Ferrari was quick about recruiting team McLaren F1’s driver, Carlos Sainz as a replacement for Vettel and McLaren, in turn, going for team Renault’s driver, Daniel Ricciardo as a replacement for Sainz.
So what exactly caused this immense stir in the driver’s market and what will it result in the future of F1? Well, we’ll focus on the former and talk about Sebastian Vettel first. Vettel started his F1 career in 2006 and raced for BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, and Red Bull Racing before joining Scuderia Ferrari in 2015. Over the years, Vettel has earned 120 podium finishes and 53 overall Grand Prix victories, which is impressive, to say the least.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 12, 2020
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However, Vettel’s abrupt decision to leave the prancing horse team at the end of 2020 season is something no one saw coming. As far as his reasons for departure go, they are still unknown. Though Vettel has denied that this decision was made on financial grounds, he is vague about what made him take this step. He just said, “The team and I have realized that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season”.
While we don’t exactly know Vettel’s fate in F1, Ferrari certainly didn’t keep us hanging. Just a day after Vettel’s departure, the Maranello based team has secured a deal with Carlos Sainz, who currently races for McLaren, as their driver for the 2021 season. Now, unlike Vettel, Carlos Sainz is fairly young (25 years old), has participated in less than half the Grands Prix, has only 1 podium finish, and that wasn’t a victory.
Team Principal at Scuderia Ferrari, Mattia Binotto, however, is quite optimistic about the team’s new driver. He says, “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”. Ferrari’s other driver, Charles Leclerc (22 years old) is also quite young and the pair for the upcoming season will be the youngest in the past 50 years of Ferrari in F1.
I’m very happy that I will be driving for Scuderia Ferrari in 2021 and I'm excited for my future with the team.
I still have an important year ahead with McLaren Racing and I really look forward to go back racing with them this season. pic.twitter.com/UXkTzFzUgV
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) May 14, 2020
So, Vettel left Ferrari and Sainz left McLaren to join Ferrari. Well, McLaren, like Ferrari, was quick enough to find a replacement for Sainz and that happened to be none other than Daniel Ricciardo from the Renault team. The 30 years old had bagged 29 podium finishes and 7 Grand Prix victories from the 171 races in his F1 career.
Regarding Ricciardo, McLaren’s Team Principal, Andreas Seidl says, “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. With Daniel and Lando as teammates, I believe we have two racers who will continue to excite our fans and help the team grow”.
Ricciardo’s future teammate, Lando Norris (20 years old) is one of the youngest drivers in F1 history and has participated in just 21 Grands Prix with 0 podium finishes and victories. However, with that little experience in the sport, the lack of victories can be overlooked as the young driver has numerous years ahead to prove himself.
I am so grateful for my time with @renaultf1team and the way I was accepted into the team. 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 pic.twitter.com/YFfzbwrgD7
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) May 14, 2020
So Ferrari, McLaren, Sainz, and Ricciardo have their sights set for the 2021 season. But what about Vettel and the Renault team? Well, there’s no knowing what fate has in store for the driver and the team. Many people believe that the French team will recruit Vettel as their driver for the upcoming season. Other speculations even state that Vettel might be leaving F1 for good.
Up until Ferrari’s recruitment of Carlos Sainz, a lot of people believed that Ferrari would somehow bring in Lewis Hamilton from the Mercedes AMG Petronas team, which would’ve been the greatest upset in F1. The 35 year old has scored an impressive 151 podium finishes and 84 Grand Prix victories from a total of just 250 races with the Mercedes team. Jumping ship and joining its biggest rival, the Ferrari team would’ve been something.
Regardless, that hasn’t happened yet. The fate of Vettel and Renault are still unknown. Stay tuned for any updates regarding what’s happening in the world of Formula 1.