That didn’t take long, did it? Only a couple of days ago we were talking about Daniel Ricciardo being one of the most likely candidates to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, but now, McLaren has announced it has signed the Australian on a multi-year deal starting in 2021. He’ll replace the driver considered to be the other top Ferrari prospect, Carlos Sainz Junior, who - mere minutes later - was confirmed as a Scuderia driver for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
He’ll be joining Charles Leclerc after two seasons with McLaren. Speaking about the news, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said:
“I’m pleased to announce that Carlos will join Scuderia Ferrari as from the 2021 championship. With five seasons already behind him, 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.”
Like Sainz, Ricciardo will be leaving his current team after a short spell, with one full McLaren season under his belt plus whatever F1 2020 pandemic-hit calendar amounts to. He’ll be joining Lando Norris, himself signed to McLaren via a multi-year deal.
To give you an idea of the sort of dynamic that’ll give us, we’ll refer you to the press conference during which Ricciardo asked British driver, “Have you got pubes yet?” The memes are going to be sensational.
Commenting on the team changes, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said:
“Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners and of course our fans.
“I also want to pay tribute to Carlos for the excellent job he has been doing for McLaren in helping our performance recovery plan. He is a real team player and we wish him well for his future beyond McLaren.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, Ricciardo said: “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.”