Recently unveiled as a Haas competitor, the 2020 F2 champion may be the long-term option for the Prancing Horse, who will soon look to reap the rewards of their driver academy. As such, the pressure is on Sainz to deliver and prove that he’s capable of achieving race wins with the sport’s oldest team. But, is he able to reach that level?
Ferrari‘s Long-Term Plans Involve Schumacher
Following the driver changes to both Ferrari and Haas, it’s clear to see that Schumacher’s future may lie in the famous red car. According to Binotto, the premises are there to see him with the Prancing Horse come 2023. Unsurprisingly, this has sparked debate over the team’s commitment to Sainz, who has not long walked through the door to replace Sebastian Vettel.
First and foremost, Schumacher must outperform his new Haas teammate, Nikita Mazepin, if he one day hopes to drive for Ferrari. Naturally, there’s a certain level of pressure that comes with the Schumacher name in motor racing, but that has yet to hinder the German’s progress. As such, David Coulthard believes that the 21-year-old will easily beat Mazepin in 2021 and subsequently pique Ferrari‘s interest ahead of a potential change in 2023.
The Spaniard Has a Fight on His Hands
Contrary to common belief, Binotto recently confirmed that his Monegasque driver isn’t the Maranello outfit’s number one, and thus the team won’t be favouring either of their racers in 2021. The arrival of Sainz marks the start of an exciting new era for the 16-time Constructors’ Championship winners, with the Italian outfit adopting a youthful approach as they seek to stop Mercedes’ dominance. At just 26 years of age, the Madrid-born racer has time on his side to achieve his goals, and from the team’s perspective, take them back to the front of the grid. As of January 29th, Ferrari are 14/1 in F1 betting to win the Constructors’ Championship in 2021 but face a troublesome task to bridge the gap to Mercedes.
For a brand as famous as Ferrari are, there’s a widespread belief that their ongoing 12-year wait for the Constructors’ Championship is unacceptable. However, if their car makes the necessary steps forward, they now have two young, hungry drivers capable of delivering on track. In December 2019, Leclerc penned a new deal with the Prancing Horse, keeping him in the car until the end of the 2024 season. From that, it’s clear to see that Ferrari envisage their long-term future featuring the Monegasque racer.
The second seat, however, will be determined by results. At the time of writing, Ferrari‘s team principal expects Sainz to help with the Italian outfit’s short-term progression. Beyond that, the door appears open for Schumacher, but the 26-year-old Spaniard will be eyeing a lengthy spell at Ferrari and won’t shy away from any battles.
Schumacher Looks Destined for Ferrari, but Can Sainz Delay the Inevitable?
Ultimately, if Sainz hits the ground running at Ferrari and ensures that the Prancing Horse are competitive over the next two years, replacing him for 2023 would be a gamble. Not only that, but it would be a risk that the team don’t have to take. Schumacher’s opportunity will come, although he first needs to prove himself by beating Mazepin in 2021.