Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, 2020

“It’s a day I will never forget”: Sainz begins life at Ferrari

2020 F1 season

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Five days after his final race for McLaren, Ferrari’s newest driver Carlos Sainz Jnr spent his first day with his new team on Friday.

Sainz visited the Ferrari factory in Maranello and spoke to media for the first time since he swapped McLaren orange for Ferrari red.

“My first time in red is, as you guys can imagine, pretty special,” said Sainz. “It’s a special day for me in general and it’s probably a day I will never forget.”

Sainz returned briefly to the UK after last week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix before heading to Italy to begin work with Ferrari. “From my side, I’m fully ready, fully motivated,” he said. “Here today, already after leaving the UK yesterday, totally new, totally refreshed for this new challenge.”

He was unable to test for his new team at Yas Marina on Tuesday due to restrictions barring drivers who competed last season. Sainz said he is now looking forward to “some Christmas, some holidays to disconnect and making sure we recharge the batteries as quick as possible” before getting to work at Maranello.

“You can be sure I’m going to be here pretty early in January to keep pushing, to keep helping this team to move forward as quick as possible in the best direction,” said Sainz. “And I cannot wait, to be honest.”

His first day with the team included a factory tour, meetings and a seat fit for the 2018 car Sainz will test to prepare for 2021. “It’s something that I will never forget and I cannot wait to do more of the same next year,” said Sainz. “Also thanks to everyone for the warm welcome.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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33 comments on ““It’s a day I will never forget”: Sainz begins life at Ferrari”

  1. Good to know that only 5 days after the end of the season, he got to sit in a Ferrari and, I presume practice extraction tests, and all the other safety stuff that he was so desperate to do at the end of season test. He must have been so disappointed to wait an extra 3 days 😀

  2. I’m going to enjoy this. It is going to be so bad.

    1. It’s a bit like owning a boat, the best days of his life will be his first and last day at Ferrari.

    2. @peartree and why would that be particularly enjoyable?

  3. Sainz is a great driver, very underestimated by many. No other teammate of Verstappen could keep up with Max so well. Even though, points comparisons don’t tell you that story. And I dare say Sainz became a better and more consistent driver since. He was quite anonymous this year, but those whom paid attention saw how he had an excellent season (excluding Russia), personally handing McLaren that 3rd spot. If he is given equal machinery, which is always a big IF at Ferrari, I expect it to be a really close fight between Leclerc and Sainz.

    1. @spafrancorchamps On the contrary. He is massively overrated as was proven against Norris (again).

      Against Leclerc I expect him to be fully undressed.

      1. I’m tempted to go with @balue s prediction. But I think that does a massive disservice to a promising, and rapidly improving Norris.

        Personally i think Norris is the real deal.

        That said Carlos really has his work cut out for him to avoid no.2 status. Which I fear he might be there for.

  4. So few have had the first time in the Red car. Very exciting and the Ferrari will rebound at some point. Very cool to see these young men and to witness the start of the comeback of this long struggling fan favorite. I personally witnessed a new young driver in a Ferrari almost take the title. That was in 1979 and Gilles Villenueve came to the team and I saw him in the 312T4 win 3 of 5 races run in the ground effects Ferrari at that time. A car without ground effects because of the flat12. It was not supposed to work but a young driver came to the team when they were much a mess as they are in 2020. He came to the team and things changed.
    No reason to think that history will see the same thing. But it’s interesting to watch what will happen. Sainz is a cool guy and he brings a new style to the team. He and Charley Clerk will pair up well. Screwing around and laughing. That builds a bond that surely Ferrari will getter better for.

    1. Nice words, can’t wait for it too!

    2. I find a few of your comments a bit confusing, as 1979 was not Gilles’s first year at Ferrari – he’d already done a full season in 1978, plus two races at the end of 1977, so he wasn’t completely new to Ferrari in 1979.

      Also, the Ferrari 312T4 was not “without ground effects because of the flat 12” – whilst the design of the underfloor tunnels was flawed, since the engine did partially intrude into them and did cause some disruption to airflow, the 312T4 quite definitely was fitted with venturi tunnels and does quite definitely fit into the category of “ground effect” car that is used for cars of that era.

      You also say that the team were “in as much a mess then as they are in 2020”, but back in 1979 Ferrari had won the World Constructor’s Championship three times in the previous 5 years and come 2nd twice. The team might have had more problems down the line and might have seen that the Lotus 79 spelled trouble for them, but they weren’t in quite as bad a place in 1979.

  5. I quite like him and want to wish him well but I really think he should have stayed at McLaren. I get the feeling Ferrari are building Schumacher, Ilott and to a latter extent Shwartzman as the future of the team and I can’t see them getting rid of Leclerc or Leclerc moving elsewhere so I really think Sainz’s time at Ferrari is going to be short.

    1. @rocketpanda Schumacher will have to do at least a couple of seasons in F1 before Ferrari take a chance on him – no guarantees he’s going to be good enough anyway. He’s shown no signs so far of being a Leclerc-level talent. Ilott is not all that special and may not ever even make it to F1. Schwartzman, a lot depends on his upcoming season in F2 – he had some very, very slow weekends last year and never looked particularly quick in terms of raw pace. I think Sainz will have a good few years there (and personally I think he’ll at least match Leclerc)

      1. I agree with you about matching Leclerc as Carlos doesn’t make many mistakes out there, Leclerc has the raw speed of Verstappen but still makes too many mistakes. The points should be tight come Abu Dhabi.

        1. @canadianjosh I’d be inclined to agree. But that big five year deal of LeClercs does make me wonder if Sainz hasn’t got a mountain to climb to avoid being the assigned number two driver.

          Have Ferrari said anything about being happy now to have “two roosters in the hen house”?

          1. Im sure Seb was difficult to work with this year knowing he was leaving and his attitude at times showed it, im Carlos will be a pleasure to work with given he probably doesn’t want to upset Ferrari with risky lunges and wants a long career with them as anyone on the grid would. He seems like a perfect team player.

  6. So any bets here who will be the better driver end of year 1?

    1. I’d still put money on Leclerc.

  7. Good for Sainz – he’s starting his 7th season with his 4th team – he’s had an amazing journey being forced to leave Red Bull as he couldn’t be promoted to the top team. Quite ironic as they’ve had 3 new drivers in the Red Bull car in as many years.

    At the same time, Ricciardo is shadowing Sainz moving from Red Bull to Renault and then to McLaren. Could Ricciardo be setting himself up for a move to Ferrari?

    1. Given the chance there likely isn’t a driver in the world who would turn a Ferrari drive down, I bet Lewis would even take a 2022 Ferrari drive if it worked out

  8. End of year one

    Charley Clerk by 13 points

    But seeing Carlos better the Red16 would be very pleasing.

    1. Charley Clerk? Funny:)

      It’s like calling the late Charlie Whiting, Carlo Bianchissimo!

  9. Sainz to outwit with shear speed

    1. Actually, when I think of Saint this season, I picture him making some really great overtakes. I think he’s grown into a phenomenal wheel to wheel racer.

  10. Moments of brilliance through sheer speed by outwitting Charles at least twice

  11. Maybe Carlos will rebuild Ferrari.

    1. Brilliant! Hahahahha!

  12. Another backmarker in the make.

  13. If someone came from the future and told me that by 2025, one of these two Ferrari drivers would have won 2-3 driver’s championships, and the other one none, I wouldn’t really care which one it was.
    However, at the moment I am rooting for Leclerc, but I really don’t see Sainz as a Barichello or Bottas.

  14. I wonder how long the joy will last? Since ferrari have proven time and again that they dont live upto the hype of ferrari. The last few drivers left ferrari more frustrated than elated. Because the wonderful dream turned out to be a horrible nightmare.

  15. Remember when the commenters on this site were competent and equilibrate? Pepperidge farm remembers

  16. “…it’s probably a day I will never forget.”

    I like the probably

    We’ll never know, but I wonder, if they’d picked their drivers now (as Red Bull are smart enough to do) and not a whole season in advance – who would McLaren, Renault, Aston Point and Ferrari have chosen?

    1. @bullfrog on the other hand, being relatively late to sign a driver does then also act to constrain your options, as your preferred candidate might have already signed up elsewhere.

      Looking at McLaren, Renault and Ferrari, I wouldn’t be surprised if their choices would have been fairly similar even if they left the deal until now. McLaren will probably feel that Ricciardo had a fairly solid season and will be a decent replacement for Sainz, particularly as Ricciardo does already seem to know and get on with a number of people at McLaren, whilst Ferrari in turn will probably be pretty satisfied with Sainz’s performance and likely would sign him based on his performances too.

      With regards to Renault, the decision to sign Alonso in Ricciardo’s place is, to some extent, as much about commercial aspects as it is about performance – it is a statement of intent by the team, and one that also helps to bring further prestige to them.

      Maybe, in retrospect, Racing Point might be the only ones acting that differently – but even that is not entirely certain. The decision to replace Perez with Vettel does seem to be driven by commercial considerations, given that the deal involved Vettel being given a small stake in Aston Martin and becoming a “brand ambassador” too.

      Whilst Perez has performed very strongly, as a former WDC winner, Vettel does have a certain level of prestige associated with him – and it seems that the team are hiring him for the prestige of having a former WDC winner helping to promote their company. They may also believe that some of Vettel’s performance problems might be overcome with a change in team environment and in car handling characteristics.

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