'All the stars line up' - Sainz backed to replace Vettel at Ferrari

Pedro de la Rosa believes "all the stars line up" for Carlos Sainz to join Ferrari as the former Formula 1® driver talked up a partnership with Charles Leclerc.

Sainz is reportedly set to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next season following the announcement that the four-time F1® world champion will leave the Italian manufacturer at the end of 2020.

Mercedes and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Renault's Daniel Ricciardo have both been linked to Ferrari.

However, McLaren driver and Spaniard Sainz has reportedly been chosen by Ferrari on a two-year deal.

De la Rosa – who featured in 107 Grands Prix for the likes of Jaguar, McLaren and Sauber, while he was Ferrari's development driver in 2013 – backed Sainz to make the high-profile switch.

"If I were [Ferrari team principle] Mattia Binotto I would seriously consider having a Leclerc-Sainz partner," De la Rosa said via Marca. "Two very talented young men, especially if you do without Vettel to make a bet for the future. Hopefully it is Carlos, who is very well placed."

Sainz made his F1® debut as a 20-year-old in 2015 and gained experience with the Torro Rosso, Renault and McLaren teams.

The 25-year-old finished sixth in last season's F1® drivers' championship.

"Sainz has had some spectacular seasons, the last one was spectacular and he was sixth," de la Rosa added.

"He got involved between the three untouchable teams. He is very young but he has a lot of experience, all the stars line up."

On Vettel and his Ferrari departure, De la Rosa said: "He is no longer talking about winning races or world championships but about wanting the best for his future, which is probably far from racing. His words sound like farewell.

"Being a four-time champion, he can either continue or leave, but I doubt he will go to a lesser team than Ferrari and if Vettel continues it has to be with Mercedes, or not. For me this is pretty clear."

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