Sainz needs quick Ferrari impact after replacing 'spent force' Vettel

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Carlos Sainz is being warned he'll need to make a quick impact at Ferrari if he is to have a long-term future at the team.

The Spaniard will replace Sebastian Vettel for 2021, with some feeling the current McLaren driver could simply play a number two role alongside Charles Leclerc.

However, while 13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard believes the new Ferrari line-up is a positive one, he thinks Sainz will be under pressure pretty soon to be on the Monegasque's level.

“The reality is they are both fairly mild-mannered and very polite young men, so I think they will understand their roles within the team which is to develop the car the best they can,” he told Channel 4.

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“The real battle and competition between them is the stopwatch and it’s there that they will show who the team leader is.

“I’ve got to say Charles will have the upper hand initially because he understands the makings of the team and how it all works.

“Let’s say we give Carlos half a season, but if he’s not able to then start matching Charles or outperforming him it could be a short time for him at Ferrari.”

However, Coulthard certainly believes Ferrari has made the right decision in dropping Vettel after this season in a scathing assessment of the German's performance.

“They’ve seen he is not only fast but he has the leadership skills to build that team going forward," the Scot said of Leclerc

“I think that’s the reason, with his temperament and the way he works within the team and keeps his feet on the ground, why Ferrari committed to him so early in the year and on a multi-year contract

“Seb is a spent force. He was a four-time World Champion but that’s in the past and this is very much about the now and the future," he added.

“There is nothing [Vettel] can do to influence the overall design of the car, he’s not a designer, but the driver is still the voice of the car. You want the fastest voice talking about the car though, not the slowest.

“Seb has been outside the top 10 now for several races and yeah…it’s over. You hope he finds his form at Racing Point but I doubt it.”

As for Leclerc, he remains gracious towards Vettel but is "excited" for the future.

“Seb is a great person and as a driver he is amazing," he told the UK broadcaster.

“But the team have made their decision and I will have Carlos next to me. I’m also very excited to have him by my side because every time you are changing teammates it is always interesting to see how this new teammate works.

“You always learn from your teammate, so it’s an exciting challenge, but Seb is an amazing person and a driver who I have learned so much from. I wish him the best.”