• Carlos Sainz will join Ferrari in 2021.
• Ferrari is nowhere near a competitive level in 2020 going into next year.
• Sainz is leaving a competitive McLaren outfit for a struggling Ferrari.
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Carlos Sainz Jr. failed to line-up for the Belgian Grand Prix this past weekend. Following technical difficulties before heading out of the pits, Sainz's McLaren team made the call that he would be unable to race.
It may have been a bitter pill to swallow - given the McLaren team's vast improvements in performance the last while - but no pill could compare to what the Ferrari-bound driver had to see during the race.
Ferrari's current drivers, Charles Leclerc and soon-to-exit Sebastian Vettel had a tough Sunday. Not only were both drivers eliminated at the end of the Q2, the second part of qualifying, but they could not hold a candle to the teams and drivers who finished inside the top ten. And Sainz, watching from inside the McLaren garage, could be seen shaking his head after another witnessing the Italian team's struggles out on the track.
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What is Sainz to do?
After the race, Sainz told reporters that Ferrari needs a 'very, very big step' if it wants to improve the car for 2021. The driver is well within his right to say this, because he is joining the team next year, leaving a competitive McLaren outfit to drive for a team that's failing to make an impression on this year's championship.
Sadly, there is little Sainz can do about his fortunes, because McLaren signed Daniel Ricciardo from Renault for next year. There is nowhere else he could go because no other team would provide him with a car that can challenge for podiums or potential victories. Maybe Red Bull, but it's unlikely that the Austrian team would want a repeat of the heated rivalry between Sainz and golden boy, Max Verstappen.
Ferrari does come with the allure of being the most prestigious team in F1 history, but for Sainz that will be little comfort knowing he has to stave off challenges from Williams, Haas, and Alfa Romeo.
As it stands, Ferrari is fifth in 2020 constructors' championship, while McLaren is third.