“Curious, open-minded” Sainz a natural fit at Ferrari – Mekies

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In the round-up: New Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jnr has already integrated well into the team and is “genuinely enjoying” working with Charles Leclerc, says the team.

What they say

Laurent Mekies, Ferrari’s sporting director, discussed the relationship between new team mates Leclerc and Sainz at the presentation of the team’s new car yesterday.

We get a lot of positive energy from the early phase of the relationship between Carlos and Charles. Carlos has been spending a lot of time on the factory ever since he signed for us. He has been integrating himself into the team very rapidly is a curious guy who is open-minded. He comes with an interesting experience from all the teams and his relationship with the engineers has already felt very natural from day one. Now we are trying to make these exchanges with him deeper, denser, and it’s it’s progressing very well in that respect.

Charles knows the team upside down, it’s his third year with us and we can see him developing every day, a little bit more as a leader. He is very conscious of the role he has in the team in and out of the car. The early phase of that relationship between Carlos and Charles is functioning very well, actually. They are already operating as as team mates, for example, when they come at the simulator’s or when they meet with the engineers for the development of the car.

Of course, it is easy to have a good relationship in the winter months but I think they are genuinely enjoying each other’s inputs and approach to the team. And it is going to be a very positive starting point of the seasons with with them on board. Ultimately, they are a key part of the team. Their application, their enthusiasm, their energy will be essential in making the 2021 campaign a decisive step in the right direction for the future of our team.

Armstrong fastest on final F2 test day

Marcus Armstrong set the fastest time of a busy final test day for Formula 2 at the Bahrain International Circuit. The morning session was relatively smooth running, with only a short red flag and the Ferrari Academy driver set a 1’42.173 in the 22 laps he put in, which would prove unbeaten by the afternoon running.

Drivers set the highest amount of laps of any session in the afternoon, able to use whatever was remaining of their eight sets of allocated tyres without risking future running. Armstrong ran the most, at 61 laps – closely followed by Williams test driver Roy Nissany on 61. The fastest time in the afternoon was set by Ralph Boschung, who failed to beat Armstrong’s morning time but still set a fairly brisk 1’44.905 with an average speed over 185kph.

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Comment of the day

F1’s pre-season testing this year is very close to the first race, making teams even more secretive than usual about their car’s pre-season in paranoia about how quickly designs could be copied. With so little time, on a flyaway, from testing until the race, Barry Bens thinks it could prove quite a shake-up if any of the teams at the top miss something:

So on the one hand the idea is that ‘most of the 2020-car can be carried over’, but on the other hand there was ‘a large rule change’ involving the diffuser, break ducts and the floor. Meaning they’ll have to generate the lost downforce some other way (as Fry says) meaning changes to other parts.

Sounds a lot like that time they ‘only’ changed the front wing rules and Red Bull had to change most of their car because Newey works from front to back. Could mix things up in the top very nicely after all!

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On this day in F1

  • 20 years ago today Cristiano da Matta won the season-opening Champ Car race at the new road circuit in Moterrey, Mexico

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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9 comments on ““Curious, open-minded” Sainz a natural fit at Ferrari – Mekies”

  1. Brake, brake, brake…….

  2. Not necessarily ‘very close’ as pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya has tended to end on a Friday two weeks before the Australian GP, i.e., with 14 days until Melbourne practice day. Having only three days of track running, yes, might have an impact, though.

    Nice Twitter image from FIA.

  3. Not sure this was the right move for Sainz. Lets see what level Ferrari can achieve and whether he is allowed to shine once Charles gets ahead in the championship

    1. Ferrari had a horror show in 2020, but I still think they’re better placed to challenge for the title than McLaren. Contenders in 2017 and 2018, in 2019 they had the second fastest car. McLaren are on an upward trajectory, and the budget cap and new regs may even things out, but as they stand, I still think he made the best choice to go with Ferrari.

  4. I can see where this is going.
    Carlos is curious and open minded.
    Charles is developing and becoming a leader.
    They’re getting along well…

    Senna and Berger were good teammates. Same with Schumacher and Massa.

    Bottas is curious and open minded.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I hope for Carlos this wont happen. He’s a bit too young to end his career in a role as 2nd driver for Ferrari. But if I had to put my money on it, this is what is probably happening

      1. He’s done the rounds at the teams now and they want someone else, so that’s his place now and probably knows not to rock the boat too much. But then many think that is exactly why Ferrari hired him in the first place, so yes.

  5. Funny how drivers “get along really well” that is until they start banging wheels and yelling at their engineers about how unfair it all is.
    I suspect that this pairing might end up being one of the fieriest if Carlos is anywhere near close to Charles

  6. I understand why Sainz went to Ferrari, as like Fisichella the opportunity alone wasn’t worth passing up but I can’t see it being a good choice long term. Ferrari are obviously all in with Leclerc and they still have Schumacher, Shwartzman and Ilott floating about – and especially with Schumacher I can see them wanting him in the Ferrari eventually.

    Even if he’s got better chance of wins and poles at Ferrari, I think they’ll hold prefence for Leclerc should those arise and while there’s no doubting Sainz is good I never felt he really beat Hulkenberg or Norris (a rookie) quite convincingly. Maybe the future will prove me wrong but I suspect his stay at Ferrari won’t be as long as he’d hope.

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