|Carlos Sainz Jr. confirmed|
UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
05/14/20 (GMM) Ferrari is eyeing "another young driver" to be Charles Leclerc's new teammate for 2021.
That is the admission of Ferrari vice chairman Piero Ferrari, who is the late Enzo Ferrari's son.
This week, the Maranello team announced that Sebastian Vettel will depart at the end of the year.
The leading candidate to replace the 32-year-old German is Carlos Sainz Jr, although Daniel Ricciardo is also linked with the seat.
But it is rumored not only that a contract with 25-year-old Spaniard Sainz may already have been signed, but that it could be announced as soon as Thursday.
Curiously, an announcement about Ricciardo's future is also expected early on Thursday, but it is believed he will actually go to McLaren for 2021.
"Everything is on the right track," a source close to Sainz's entourage told Marca sports newspaper. "You need to be patient."
Piero Ferrari is also dropping hints.
"I would be very happy if another young driver drives at the side of Charles Leclerc, who we continue to rely on for his outstanding talent and intelligence," he told Quattroruote Q-Talks.
Ferrari added that Leclerc's young new teammate should "not be a boy in the sense of a newcomer coming in from Formula 2, but a young driver who already has several years of experience."
05/13/20 (GMM) The announcement of Sebastian Vettel's post-2020 departure from Ferrari means one of the most coveted seats in Formula 1 is now up for grabs.
"It's definitely not me," Max Verstappen smiled in the hours following the announcement on Tuesday.
The leading candidates are actually Verstappen's old Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz Jr., and current Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo, although Antonio Giovinazzi and Valtteri Bottas are also being mentioned.
"I think it's not going to be the Italian-sounding name," Verstappen said, referring to Ricciardo, his former Red Bull teammate.
"It's just a guess, we'll have to wait and see," added the Dutchman.
Spain's AS newspaper thinks a two-year Ferrari contract is on the table of current McLaren driver Sainz Jr.. Ricciardo is being linked with the potential McLaren vacancy.
Italian sources, including Corriere della Sera, say Sainz's deal could be worth EUR 10 million a year.
"Sainz is a strong driver, but it should be noted that he only has one podium. This is not a name that warms the heart," Ferrari insider Leo Turrini told Italy's Radio24.
"Ricciardo? It seems that he has already signed a contract with McLaren," he added.
Carlos Sainz's famous father and namesake admitted that speculation about his son's future is "accelerating".
"I can't tell you much because I don't want to deceive anyone," Carlos Sainz snr told Movistar. "But it is clear that things are accelerating and that the teams are not going to wait for the season to start because it is not even known if there will be a season."
Sainz snr added: "It is true that he is happy where he is and it is true that lately things have moved a lot, and I want to think that sooner or later there will be a solution. We cannot stay for two more months with these rumors.
"But I am sure you are going to allow me to not tell you any more because these are delicate moments," he said.
"But in life you either stagnate or you take steps, and from what I see as a father he has the ambition to keep doing better and taking steps forward. All I can do is encourage him," added Sainz.
However, there are those who think Vettel and Lewis Hamilton might sensationally switch seats.
"I hope so," former F1 driver Timo Glock smiled to RTL. "Formula 1 would benefit from a small change of color.
Another ex driver, Jarno Trulli, is quoted by L'Equipe: "Mercedes will certainly not be enthusiastic about letting Hamilton go, but he is the best driver so I don't have any difficulty seeing him at Ferrari."
Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, however, agrees with those who think it will be Sainz who is installed alongside clear number 1 Charles Leclerc.
"Sainz has suddenly grown into a very competitive driver and he would be easy for the team to manage," he told Bild newspaper.
"If he went there, he would be number 2 and he would have no problem being number 2 at Ferrari," said Ecclestone.
05/12/20 According to reports in the Italian media, Carlos Sainz Jr. will be confirmed as Charles Leclerc’s new Ferrari F1 teammate by Thursday.
The Formula 1 silly season was sent into full swing after Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari confirmed the overnight rumors on Tuesday morning that an agreement could not be found in extending Vettel’s stay beyond the end of 2020.
The likes of Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Antonio Giovinazzi have all been linked with Ferrari in recent months, but, according to Motorsport.com in Italy, Sainz is expected to be unveiled as Ferrari’s new 2021 driver in the coming days.
The report from Motorsport Italy states that the deal between Sainz and Ferrari is only missing the ‘final details’ and that Daniel Ricciardo was the other driver in the main frame to replace Sebastian. But Sainz, who has reportedly stalled on signing a two-year contract extension with McLaren, has bagged himself the Ferrari drive alongside Charles Leclerc.
Carlos Sainz has welcomed previous rumors linking him to Ferrari, saying he is confident in his own abilities to perform for any of the top teams.
“I am confident in my abilities," Sainz told AS – “Last year I took a very important step and I am capable of doing very good things in a McLaren, in a Ferrari or in a Mercedes."