Carlos Sainz an ideal fit for Ferrari, says principal Mattia Binotto
The talk was of luring six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes to Ferrari but, in the end, it was Carlos Sainz, a driver yet to win anything in Formula One, who signed on the dotted line.
The Spaniard, 25, was confirmed yesterday on a two-year deal as the replacement for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who is leaving at the end of the season.
Ferrari believe that Sainz, who has just one podium finish from 102 races but can now expect to win some, will be an ideal partner for Charles Leclerc as the team plot a long-overdue return to the top.
"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," said Ferrari principal Mattia Binotto, who added that they are starting a "new cycle".
Sainz, who had stints with Toro Rosso and Renault, joined McLaren last year and finished sixth in the drivers' championship. It was the highest from outside the top three teams - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
While Vettel was paid a reported US$40 million (S$57m) a year, Sainz will get a fraction of that - a relief to Ferrari, even if drivers' salaries are not included in a budget cap due to come into force next year.
Sainz's place at McLaren will be taken by Renault's Daniel Ricciardo. - REUTERS