Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, 2024

Sainz admits losing Ferrari seat to Hamilton “was a bit of a surprise”

Formula 1

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Carlos Sainz Jnr admits he was surprised to learn he would lose his seat at Ferrari after this year.

While team mate Charles Leclerc agreed a contract extension with Ferrari earlier this year, the team has signed Lewis Hamilton to replace Sainz at the end of the season.

During 2023 Mercedes announced Hamilton had extended his contract to drive for them in 2024 and 2025. Sainz therefore was surprised to learn he had lost his seat to the seven-times champion.

“I think there was obviously a bit of a surprise, like everyone in the Formula 1 world, with the news,” he told media including RaceFans at the launch of Ferrari’s new F1 car today. “I think everyone was surprised in a way with what happened.

Ferrari SF-24, 2024
Pictures: First pictures: Ferrari reveals “completely new” SF-24 F1 car for 2024
“From my side, you can obviously understand that I got all the news a bit earlier than anyone else. But it’s true that then I had some weeks to reflect, some weeks to prepare and some weeks to also get ready for the car launch for the first race of the season so it gives you a bit of time to digest it, to draw your own conclusions how to focus on the 2024 season.”

Despite his disappointment at losing his place at a team he has won races for in each of the past two seasons, Sainz believes his time spent at Ferrari will make him an attractive option for other teams.

“I think I’m actually very privileged to be part of Ferrari and still having a year ahead of me, a total of four years as a Ferrari driver,” he said. “And I think once you are a Ferrari driver, you can go to every team from now on having been at Ferrari. Having been a Ferrari driver I think does good to any driver on the grid.

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“If on top of that you add the fact that I won races for Ferrari, I made pole positions, I made podiums, I think I’ve helped this team to move forward up the grid and to be a better team, [then] my overall feeling of these four years is definitely positive. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me because I’m sure there is going to be good things coming.”

Sainz said he will treasure his memories of winning races for the team, the relationships he’s made there and the special experience of driving a Ferrari for the first time when he joined them in 2021.

“I have very, very good memories in this team but I would start with the first day driving a Ferrari in Fiorano,” he said. “My first ever lap in a Ferrari around Fiorano is one of the most emotional moments of my career.

“Then my first podium with Ferrari, first pole, first win and then obviously the Singapore win. And then along the way, a lot of great moments with the people in this team I take with me a lot of good friends in the paddock. A lot of great engineers that I’ve worked with, great mechanics, great management people in different levels and hopefully still with one year ahead of us still good memories to be made.”

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11 comments on “Sainz admits losing Ferrari seat to Hamilton “was a bit of a surprise””

  1. Yes plenty to be proud about!

    1. Yeah. Well done, Carlos. You did well last year. Everyone but Max would have to move aside for Lewis.

  2. Too bad for Ferrari if they change a winner for a loser

    1. Sainz (2 wins) changed for Hamilton (103 wins).

      1. One could say sainz has more recent wins than hamilton! Look at vettel if you want to see an example where stats don’t tell the whole story.

        1. Rehiring Kimi -their last champion, remember- was another of Ferrari’s brilliant moves. Next year we’ll see if Charles Leclerc can improve what Alonso did to Kimi

  3. I don’t think Sainz would last much longer there regardless of this.

    He’s brave and reliable, but he lacks that little bit of extra speed to be a true contender.

    1. No one can deny that he lacks racepace when compared to Leclerc, Hamilton and Max. But still I believe he would have suited Ferrari to win some races. Seems like Ferrari is betting big on Leclerc. Ham will act as mentor to him.
      The only races Redbull will lose are the ones where car setup is tricky or the ones which require some intelligent strategy gamble. Sainz is better than Ham, Ferrari and certainly Leclerc in those places.
      Certainly Ham is faster, Ver is faster and Lec is faster than Sainz in racepace. But I doubt anyone of these could have pulled that Singapore DRS train strategy.
      So Sainz I believe was more suited for Ferrari. Leclerc is very fast. If Ferrari build a championship contending car, Leclerc can also win the championship. But to pick up the pieces with not so good car, Sainz is the one to do so.

    2. Prost was also “slow” compared to Senna. I see Carlos as a modern take of a guy like Prost, not the fastest but can have days were nobody catches him, cerebral, strong minded, very experienced, and with a lot of political contacts. He has shown that maybe he’s not as speedy as Charles but his mind and heart are sit on solid ground in the heat of the race, an area where Charles has shown weakness frequently.

  4. One of the good guys. Enjoyed some pancakes tonight using his recipe (“You don’t want the fluffy stuff to become unfluffy”)
    I’d be cheering on a 3rd win if it came this year. But I agree with Edvaldo – it would take something amazing with his next team or the 2026 rules to add any more.

  5. Really feel for Sainz as he’s one that definitely deserves a seat, and preferably a good one.

    However, there’s quite a few drivers that may get dropped/decide to “retire” if they don’t have a stellar showing in 2024. I’d include Stroll, Ricciardo, Tsunoda and Sargeant in that group at the very least, so I’d see potential for him to get a good seat in Mercedes, AM or RB as things stand currently.

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