Sainz to join Ferrari: How have F1's big academies fared?

After Ferrari announced Carlos Sainz would be joining in 2021, we take a look at the biggest Formula One teams' youth programmes.

Published : May 14, 2020 22:38 IST

Carlos Sainz (L) is set to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.
Carlos Sainz (L) is set to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz (L) is set to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz will join Ferrari in 2021, the latest step up for a man who progressed from the Red Bull Junior Team.

The 25-year-old Spaniard has moved from Toro Rosso to Renault to McLaren, and next year he will call Charles Leclerc a team-mate at Ferrari.

He will succeed Sebastian Vettel, who, like Sainz, honed his craft on Red Bull's young driver programme. But how have the academies of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes fared? We take a look.


Formed 19 years ago, Red Bull Junior Team has been a huge success, unearthing Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Sainz.

Vettel, who joined the set-up in 1998, is a four-time world champion, winning all of those titles from 2010 to 2013 as a Red Bull driver.

His team-mate in 2014 was Ricciardo, who won seven races with Red Bull, and will replace Sainz at McLaren in 2021.

Verstappen is Red Bull's present, and potentially a future champion, having finished third in last year's championship.

As well as Sainz, current F1 drivers Daniil Kvyat, Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly all graduated from the Red Bull Junior Team.


Ferrari was slower on the uptake but it will hope to be rivalling Red Bull's success in the years to come.

Leclerc, now 22, only made his F1 debut in 2018 but after finishing fourth in his first season with Ferrari, the man who won back-to-back races in Belgium and Italy last year will have title aspirations moving forward.

Sergio Perez was one of the first Ferrari Driver Academy graduates to feature regularly in F1, and he has appeared on the podium eight times in his career, while Lance Stroll became the second-youngest driver to secure a top-three finish at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

There are several recognisable names currently on the scheme, including Schumacher, Fittipaldi, Alesi and Leclerc.

Michael's son, Mick Schumacher, is already a race-winner in Formula Two, while there is plenty to live up to for Emerson Fittipaldi's grandson Enzo, Jean Alesi's son Giuliano and Charles' brother Arthur Leclerc.


Undoubtedly the biggest success at F1 level after six successive constructors' championships, the junior set-up is yet to produce similar results.

Former Formula Three champion Ocon showed plenty of promise with Force India early on, but he was dropped by Racing Point for 2019 and eventually signed for Renault ahead of the 2020 campaign.

Pascal Wehrlein failed to make the grade at F1, not helped by a 2017 crash at the Race of Champions, and he now drives in Formula E.

The great hope for Mercedes is Williams' George Russell, the 2018 F2 champion, though his highest F1 finish was 11th in his debut season with Williams.

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