Sainz proved he’s a good learner in first season with Ferrari – Binotto

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Mattia Binotto praised Carlos Sainz Jnr’s first season with Ferrari, saying the team got what they wanted from bringing him onboard for 2021.

In brief

Ferrari ‘achieved our objective’ in signing Sainz

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says he believes Carlos Sainz Jnr has given the team exactly what they were looking for in their driver line up in 2021.

Sainz finished fifth in the championship, ahead of Lando Norris and team mate Charles Leclerc, in his first season with Ferrari. Binotto says he is impressed with how Sainz improved throughout the year.

“When we signed with Carlos, the objective was to have two good drivers that were good racers, consistent and capable of scoring points for the team and this is what we got this season,” Binotto said.

“Being his very first season with Ferrari, it was not straightforward and obvious. But I think we signed with him because we said, ‘he is a good racer, consistent, capable of scoring points’, but I think he is as well a good learner, because he has proved that so much during the season, he has improved. And somehow I think the end of the season was his best part of this entire season itself.”

Gasly “really sad” to see Giovinazzi leave F1

Pierre Gasly says he is “really sad” that Antonio Giovinazzi will not be on the F1 grid in 2021.

Answering questions from fans in a video posted on the team’s YouTube page, Gasly said there were three drivers on the grid he had particularly good relationships with.

“Charles clearly is my best friend in the paddock,” he began. “Yuki [Tsunoda] – after this season, you know, spending a lot of time together, I do have a very good relationship with him.

“Antonio Giovinazzi, I’m actually really sad to see him leaving the paddock because he’s a very good guy and just a very nice person. I get on pretty much with everyone, but I would say these three are obviously the closest.”

Aston Martin’s 2022 car “feels very, very good” in simulator – Yelloly

Nick Yelloly, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2021
Yelloly tested for Aston Martin last week
Aston Martin test and simulator driver, Nick Yelloly, says he feels positive about the team’s car for next year, based on how it feels in the simulator.

Yelloly has completed over 50 days of simulator running for the team during the 2021 season and completed 118 laps in last week’s Young Drivers Test in Abu Dhabi.

“We covered off set-up options, some aspects of next year’s car and some specific direction in setup, so I could get a feeling on how they compared to running in the simulator,” Yelloly said.

“We have been working on the 2022 car for a long time with our first running in the sim back in March. Obviously, when we get the new car on the track, that will be the main point, but in general, the car feels very, very good and we test each new idea out on the simulator before even thinking about any build process. We have made big gains since March and now we look forward to the February running in Barcelona.”

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Comment of the day

The news that Audi are actively pursuing an entry into Formula 1 for 2026 has excited many, but ChrisVB is puzzled by what the marque stands to gain from joining the world championship.

To be honest I really don’t understand why Audi would join F1.

It costs a lot of money that Audi should be spending on EV transformation. For example by 2026, all new company cars in Belgium (more than half of new cars!) have to be zero emission. I know Belgium is small, but it is a trend and other countries are even further.

And what is there to gain? Knowing how to make better ICE engine? Not really usable or too expensive for road-going cars apparently since it is already seven years since the new engines are there. Non-F1 manufacturers seem to be making more plugin hybrids than Honda, Renault or Mercedes. So participating in F1 doesn’t seem to give an edge.

Learning how to use carbon zero fuels? I seriously doubt this is the future for new cars (maybe for old-timers). It will be way more expensive than EV’s for total cost of ownership. And F1 participation is not needed for that.

So marketing? Seems very expensive and would be a better fit for Porsche.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Dan M, Huhhii and Tony Hamilton!

On this day in motorsport

  • 45 years ago today the Lotus 78 was launched at the Royal Garden Hotel in London

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 20 comments on “Sainz proved he’s a good learner in first season with Ferrari – Binotto”

    1. Dear Keith and team,

      Firstly I want to thank you all at Racefans for your outstanding and balanced F1 journalism and generally being my go to place of escape since 2008.

      During this season, for better or worse, I have found myself reading and replying to comments a little too much. Lately I’ve started to realise that it hasn’t been terribly healthy. For some reason I’m not enjoying it like I used to, commenting is becoming more like an addiction rather than something that in the past often led to an interesting debate about the sport that I love. It may just be me, who knows, but I know I need to take a break from it. I’ll be checking the site of course now and again but no longer be commenting.

      It’s been 14 seasons, I want to say a big thank you to the whole racefans community, some people from memory: PrisonerMonkeys (anyone remember?!), @Peartree, Randommallard, @Aapje, @Bascb, @patrickl, @todford, @bulgarian, @omarr-pepper, @f1alex, @geemac, @fastiesty, @huhhii, @colossal-squid, @wsrgo, @fer-no65, @antonyob, etc. the list goes on!

      Take care, thank you so much again and Merry Christmas everyone,

      John Harding.

      PS: You need to bring back the caption competition Keith ;)

      1. @john-h

        PS: You need to bring back the caption competition Keith ;)

        We did, last weekend!:

      2. @john-h yeah, I do remember prisonermonkeys.
        I can totally relate with your experience and understand where you are coming from.
        Lovely words. I can sense a comeback…
        Happy holidays John.

      3. @john-h Sorry for the late reply but really well put (thanks for the shout out!). And it’s not just you, I too have felt in a similar position with somewhat of a comment “addiction” this year, and also feel like the joy and fun of it has gone a little bit. I hope you do return next season, because your comments are, on the whole, excellent and really do add value to the debate.

        Maybe over the off season you could engage in a motorsport that’s always non-controversial, never has weird rules or decisions and has extremely high driving standards. Oh hang on there’s only Formula E. Never mind. (dw Hazel I do enjoy a bit of FE from time to time).

        Have a great Christmas John, and a good new year as well. I really hope you do comeback, and re-find your passion for the sport. Thank you for everything

    2. So the brand behind the “Push him out” controversy in DTM and Dieselgate see that rule breaking is not frowned upon in F1 and wish to join a series which embraces that ethos?

    3. RE COTD

      This is pretty much what I have been saying since talk of attracting new manufacturers into F1 kicked off.

      Why would any major manufacturer want to invest heavily into a technology that we are being told, as things stand, will be banned from the general public by year 2035, in most European countries? Granted that Europe does not represent the world, but I expect other nations (those that can afford to do so) to follow suit.

      Perhaps there is a clarification to be had about banning ICE that runs on synthetic fuels? Perhaps they know something that we don’t? If ICE running these fuels are exempt, then game on, it will be the new arms race. I suspect this may the case….but who knows? We are but mere plebs that must look to our betters for guidance on how we live our lives.

    4. I think it shows Sainz has been under rated by many because he was in an underperforming car. As have a couple of other drivers. Next year short of meddling from the powers that be, I’m hoping for a good championship contest.

      1. @johnrkh

        I think Sainz has surprised almost everyone this season. Once he got to grips with his car, he was matching Charles pretty regularly, especially on Sundays. He was actually more consistent form-wise and didn’t make a lot of crucial errors.

        The 2018 season is probably the one that gave Sainz’s reputation the biggest hit, as he was outclassed by Hulkenberg that season. But after that, he’s seemed to bounce back pretty well. 2019 and 2020 were two very solid seasons .. and now 2021 has put him on the map.

    5. I read in motorsport that Sainz learn a lot Leclerc driving style at the beginning and the Ferrari seem pushing both drivers to share tricks to each other. I highly rated Sainz because I think he was the only teammates that proved to be competitive against Verstappen.

      Sure Leclerc already proved his worth against Vettel but Sainz is clearly having better communication with the team, I’m afraid Ferrari would build their car more to Sainz liking than Leclerc. It could be hard years for Leclerc considering he was too nice and always blame himself for everything wrong with the car.

      1. @ruliemaulana I’m not convinced LeClerc proved anything against Vettel. Vettel isn’t a generational talent, he’s been beaten by teammates and if he doesn’t have full confidence, full backing from the team and a car already out front, he phones it in. Ricciardo outclassed him, and it’s obvious Ricciardo is an also ran. LeClerc may have looked great up against Vettel, but he isn’t setting the world on fire up against Sainz, and no one is talking about Sainz as anything other than a decent wingman.

        McLaren weren’t fighting to keep Sainz, they chose to throw a boatload of cash at Ricciardo and let Sainz walk with even thinking they were losing talent.

        If anyone could swap LeClerc for Verstappen or Hamilton, they’d make that swap instantly. Talent is obvious, I think LeClerc major hype is because he’s at Ferrari, throw him to McLaren or Alpha Tauri and no one cares.

        I see LeClerc as a Hulkenberg type field filler, which is good enough but not great.

        1. I think he is beter then Nico but i understand your view.

        2. At least Leclerc was great in junior series. But yes, so do Hulkenberg and Bottas. Maybe you’re right.

        3. @ruliemaulana @jasonj You are as good as your last few races have been or what car you’re driving. In 2016 Leclerc won GP3 in his first year, 2017 he did the same in F2, 2018 he outscored Ericsson by 39/9, 2019 Leclerc got the most poles in F1, last year won in Monza defending Hamilton for several laps, this year he was beaten by Sainz in the points.
          If Sainz can keep this level I think he really can became champion like his father. Leclerc has had the car to prove he can fight against Hamilton and Verstappen. This was really Sainz’s first (or second) season in a machinery that can fight for podiums or even wins. He took some podiums but if you look back on his history. 2011 Formula Renault champion, 2012 5th in F3 Europe, 2013 10th in GP3, 2014 Formula Renault 3,5 champion. 2015- F1

          I would still rate Leclerc higher but Sainz is not far behind.

          1. @qeki
            Some seem to forget that Sainz has outraced Leclerc only in 6 races this year and in some of those races Leclerc had his misfortunes and Sainz scored a lot of points like Monaco, Russia, Hungary with 2 more DNFs. Leclerc also beat Sainz in 14 races in Qualifying. Pace wise Leclerc have had the edge over Sainz this year.

            Sainz on the other hand is not that bad either as he demonstrated that he can be there with very fast drivers like Leclerc, Max and Norris. He is also a versatile and technical driver à la Button. Most of his speed is coming from his understanding of the car, tyres and good set up choices.

            1. @tifoso1989 I can’t argue how Sainz has taken some good points. As you said Leclerc can be faster and in one lap in some day he can be the fastest of them all by some margin but he makes more errors than Sainz.

        4. @jasonj
          I completely disagree. I think you are heavily underestimating Leclerc. He already proved in F2 what a massive talent he is, consistently putting his car on pole by about 0.5 ahead of P2 (8 out of 11 poles, 9 if he wasn’t disqualified at Hungary) and he also had races (Silverstone and Spa feature races) where he finished 20+ sec ahead of P2. That’s pretty impressive, given that they are all racing in equal machinery.

          His first season at Sauber was hard to judge, because Ericsson isn’t really known as a particularly fast driver. Still, he comfortably outqualified and outraced him.
          Then he took on Seb Vettel, who was definitely underachieving in the last two years, but you can’t deny that Seb still has the pace to win races. Charles made him look like an amateur in ’19 and ’20, sometimes outqualifying him by 0.7 sec (and Seb was a pretty decent driver in qualifying). By the 2nd half of 2019 Charles was effectively Ferrari’s #1 driver and put in some amazing drives, like his robust defence against Hamilton at Monza that year.
          2020 wasn’t any less impressive, considering he managed to drag an underpowered car with an unresponsive front end and an instable rear end to the podium twice and a couple of 2nd row starts. If that’s not a sign of a great racer, then I don’t know what else he should’ve been achieving.

          The only issue I see with Charles is, that he is a little bit too ambitious from time to time. He binned it at Monaco this year, because he was down on his previous time in Q3 and wanted to regain the lost time by taking more risk. At Sochi and Istanbul he also took too much risk, because he wanted to extract more from his car than a P6 or P3.

          Charles is in no way comparable to Nico Hülkenberg. Charles has delivered results, withstood big pressure and overachieved in the last two and a half years. I don’t see anybody, not even Verstappen and Hamilton, who could’ve put this year’s Ferrari on pole at Monaco and Baku.
          Nico on the other hand, hasn’t done anything like that during his time in F1. When he got the oppurtunities (especially Interlagos 2012), he cracked under pressure and never delivered any special results.

    6. Objective achieved indeed. I would be unsurprised if Sainz kept on outscoring Leclerc next season, although I hope Ferrari would become a top team again.

      An interesting COTD that’s probably also valid.

    7. Thank you for the birthday wishes. But I think it’s about the right time now to let go of F1. While the season was exciting and full of drama I didn’t like the inconsistency of stewarding. It really looked more like a scripted soap opera rather than real contest this season. F1 Sprint is a horrible format and I can’t stand Crofty and Brundle. How on Earth they still have their jobs? Budget cap is a great thing for sure, but I’m confident with the new regulations one team will again find a loophole from the rules and dominate just like Brawn GP did.
      Then add the fact that the greatest of the greats and the brightest star of the sport, Kimi, retires. I see little point to continue from now on.
      Overall it’s not the same sport I started to watch 23 years ago.

      Also this site needs more work. The layout hasn’t changed in years and the site is pretty much unusable on phone. The articles have become too political (yes I know the world is broken, but reading news is already depressing enough, I don’t want to read about it in motorsport site). Some great old features like quizzes, weekend racing wraps and caption competition have been discontinued (although the latter returned for a short time). Also the moderation needs a lot more work, as is evident after reading comments during the past week.

      Big thanks to regulars such as @mashiat (I’m sure you’ll miss my non-biased messages in the future), @john-h (always very classy) and @todfod (was a pleasure, hope Fernando does well next season).

      I think I will re-watch 2007 Brazilian GP now. And I will have the drink. Cheers all.

      1. Also bolding failed miserably but oh well…

    8. I’m disappointed with Charles, Carlos was not beaten as hard as I had expected, similar to bottas vs massa.
      Carlos got away with some mistakes whereby Leclerc did not, regardless even I cannot deny that Carlos did ok.

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