Carlos Sainz Jnr says he understood his Ferrari seat was at risk before the team announced it had signed Lewis Hamilton to replace him.
As Charles Leclerc recently signed a contract extension with Ferrari, the team no longer has room for Sainz, who finds himself without a drive for 2025.
Speaking at a press conference marking the launch of a new range of karts bearing his name, he said the news was not a total shock to him. “From the inside I knew and saw things before all of you, I was prepared,” he said.
Sainz, the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race last year, had been hopeful of extending his Ferrari contract into a fifth season. Despite knowing his fourth season at Ferrari will be his last, Sainz said he will continue to give his best for the team.
“Knowing that it will be the last year with a team is not the most normal thing to start a new season but as soon as I put on my helmet in Bahrain and get on the track, you can be sure that I will only think about going as fast as possible and if there is the chance to become world champion I will try to take it,” he said.
“I want to think only about this season, about doing my best for Ferrari in this championship,” he added. “I am a driver who every year has become stronger and stronger, I have not taken steps backwards but only forwards in my career and I am continuing to grow.
“This year I will turn 30 but I feel younger and more motivated than ever. I know what my value is as a driver and I know that There will be good things in the future but this year I want to do my best with Ferrari.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
- How to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix plus F2, F3 and WEC season-openers
- Hamilton: Joining Ferrari is a “gut” decision but “I’ll always be a Mercedes fan”
- Pressure on Red Bull as team begins title defence: Six Bahrain GP talking points
- Antonelli’s first F2 races key to chance of replacing Hamilton
- McLaren starting season with “much better car” than recent years – Norris