Sainz reaches agreement over new Ferrari F1 contract

Carlos Sainz Jr has reached an agreement with Ferrari for a new Formula 1 contract, as he bids to bounce back from his most difficult weekend with the team.

Sainz reaches agreement over new Ferrari F1 contract

The Spaniard helped his Maranello squad to a 1-2 behind Charles Leclerc at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but was left frustrated by his own performance.

He confesses to not being able to extract as much speed out of the new F1-75 as his team-mate, and is at a loss to explain just why he is encountering such difficulties now.

But, following talks between himself and Ferrari over the winter, it appears that Sainz’s future with Maranello has at least been secured, with the team suggesting a deal is done and it just needs signing.

Asked after the Bahrain GP about how close a new contract was, Sainz said: “I think we are close. Very close. Very, very close. Very close. Extremely close. Nearly there.”

Team principal Mattia Binotto added: “I think we found an agreement. It's only a matter to translate it into paper.”

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, 2nd position, Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari, talk in Parc Ferme

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, 2nd position, Mattia Binotto, Team Principal, Ferrari, talk in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"Most difficult weekend"

While Sainz’s long-term future seems assured, his focus right now is on turning around his situation at Ferrari.

With Leclerc having adapted much better to the requirements of the 2022 car, Sainz has confessed to his situation being the hardest he has encountered since he joined the team last year.

“In FP1, FP2 and FP3 I was very far behind, the most far that I've been ever in Ferrari, and that's why even with a 1-2 that we scored, I'm not entirely happy with the weekend,” explained Sainz.

“As a Ferrari driver it’s been my most difficult weekend and it just shows that I need to put my head down, understand this car, understand where is Charles making the difference with his driving and the way that he's approaching the corners and driving the tyres, also in the race.

“I need to improve if I want to fight for a win and I will put my head down and try to do some steps coming into Jeddah. Can I improve it from one weekend to another? I think I can improve it.

“Can I cut down the deficit completely? It’s a very good question. I wish I can and I will be working hard for it.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1st position, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, 2nd position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1st position, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, 2nd position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sainz thinks his way of driving the car for how 2022 cars need to be set-up does not work, and explains why the gap to Leclerc is bigger now than it has ever been between them.

“I haven't been driving the way that the car should be driven, at least with the set-up we have now in the car,” he said.

“Clearly, Charles managed to do a better job, but he's been quicker all weekend. I think I only got to a very decent level in Q2 and Q3 where I really managed to nail a couple good laps to be on a good level. But the rest of the weekend I've just been like three tenths of a second, both in the race and in practice.

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“It's a deficit that I never saw last year. No, I was never three tenths off, and it's something new to me, and it's a bit of a difficult weekend.

“I need to put my head down, find out where these three/four tenths are, and as soon as I find them and I put the car to my liking and exactly know how I need to drive this car, then I'm sure I can get back into the fight for a win. But until then, head down and keep working.”

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