Sainz recalls initial contact from Ferrari over 2021 F1 drive

Carlos Sainz Jr entered initial talks with Ferrari over a 2021 Formula 1 deal "without trying to believe it too much", assuming it was talking to a number of drivers

Sainz recalls initial contact from Ferrari over 2021 F1 drive

Ferrari announced last May it had struck a deal for Sainz to join the team on a two-year contract from 2021, replacing four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Sainz has been one of the stand-out performers in F1's midfield over the past two seasons, scoring two podium finishes, as well as leading McLaren to third in the championship last year.

The Spaniard has quickly embedded himself at Ferrari, completing his first simulator run at its Maranello base on Friday afternoon.

Reflecting on when Ferrari first got in touch over a 2021 race seat in the months prior to a deal being agreed, Sainz said he tried not to believe it too much, thinking that the team would be talking to lots of drivers.

PLUS: Why Sainz feels no fear joining Ferrari

"The first time we got in contact, you can imagine, you go into it without trying to believe it too much," Sainz told Autosport.

"[You're thinking] they must just be talking to all the drivers. So I tried to be very relaxed about it. I tried to keep my focus always on the present.

"But during the lockdown, there was nothing to do. There was not a lot to think about, so I started to get a bit more interested and a bit more keen.

"All of a sudden, everything started happening very quickly during that period of time."

Sainz was named as Vettel's replacement just 48 hours after the German's departure from Ferrari was confirmed, all coming before the start of the delayed 2020 season.

Sainz felt braced for a wave of questions and scrutiny when the new season did begin following the Ferrari announcement, but praised how the McLaren team handled the situation to avoid any pressure building.

"When you sign for Ferrari, you know what's coming, all the media attention," Sainz said.

"It was in the middle of lockdown, and I knew that going into Austria, a lot of questions were going to be asked.

"It's a period of time that you know you're going to get a lot of media attention, especially in Spain. I don't think many people in Spain expected Carlos Sainz to be part of Ferrari maybe one or two years ago. So it got quite big at the time.

"But it very quickly went away. We managed together with McLaren to make sure there were not a lot of stories developing, just focusing on the present.

"We didn't want the stories being generated and we wanted to focus on a very important year that we had. I think it worked really well.

"The relationship with McLaren has always been very open and very relaxed. So never really got to feel a lot of pressure, a lot of weight on my shoulders."

shares
comments
Verstappen: Red Bull could have dominated F1 without turbo hybrid switch
Previous article

Verstappen: Red Bull could have dominated F1 without turbo hybrid switch

Next article

When F1's crazy horse joined the Prancing Horse

When F1's crazy horse joined the Prancing Horse
Why Albon won't be "throwing around laptops" to gain a 2023 F1 edge Plus

Why Albon won't be "throwing around laptops" to gain a 2023 F1 edge

OPINION: At the Williams 2023 Formula 1 season launch, Alex Albon’s easy-going nature was again a point of focus. But does being “too nice” really matter in modern F1? Albon’s own expressions put that in an intriguing new light

How the last Sauber-built Alfa offers F1 2023 evolution clues Plus

How the last Sauber-built Alfa offers F1 2023 evolution clues

Alfa Romeo has become the first Formula 1 team to reveal a new car for 2023, in addition to a fresh livery. This offered a first look at some of the understated changes produced by the revised regulations, along with points of convergence in the second year of the ground effect rules

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline Plus

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

In the hands of Ayrton Senna the actively suspended 99T would be the last F1 race-winning Lotus but, as STUART CODLING reveals, it was a complicated machine that caused more problems than it solved

Formula 1
Feb 5, 2023
How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1 Plus

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Formula 1’s transformation into a global sport meant the gradual extinction for a small team determined to stay true to its low-budget roots. But Tyrrell would eventually be reborn as a world-beating outfit again, explains MAURICE HAMILTON, albeit in different colours…

Formula 1
Feb 4, 2023
Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023