Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024 pre-season test

Sainz will “take my time” to decide future team

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Carlos Sainz Jnr is in no rush to determine where he will race in the future after losing his Ferrari drive for next year.

In brief

Sainz will “take time” to decide future

Sainz, who will leave Ferrari at the end of this year, says he is in no rush to commit to his next Formula 1 team at this early phase of the year.

“I feel prepared and ready to take my fourth year as a good challenge here in Ferrari,” Sainz told the official F1 channel. “Obviously next year the team will be different and I will be moving somewhere else, but I still have no idea where.

“I’m going to take my time to take the decision. The right decision for me, for my career, for the next three or four years that I might be in the next place that I go to. In order for that I need time to see the whole situation of all the teams and see who is offering the best chance for me to be world champion in the future.”

New Mercedes “much nicer to drive” – Hamilton

After Lewis Hamilton notched up 123 laps and the third-fastest time of pre-season testing so far in his first full day of running in Mercedes’ W15, the seven-times world champion says he has a good first impression of the car

“It was a productive day out there,” Hamilton said. “We gathered lots of learnings about the W15, both in our long running and single lap work.

“We’ve clearly made an improvement with this year’s car and it’s much nicer to drive. We’ve still got progress to make of course. But this is a good foundation for us to build on. We’ll keep our heads down and continue to work to find improvements, both over the rest of the test and into next week.”

Croft to sit out three rounds in 2024

Sky F1 lead commentator David Croft will sit out of three rounds over this season and will be replaced by Formula 3 commentator Harry Benjamin.

Croft has been Sky’s lead commentator alongside Martin Brundle since the British satellite broadcaster took over exclusive rights to all live F1 coverage in the UK in 2012. Croft has commentated for all 243 grands prix in that time, but says he is choosing to miss three of this year’s 24 rounds.

“So, here’s a little bit of news for you all – 24 races this season, but I’m going to miss three of them,” Croft posted on social media. “Will be a bit strange as it’s been a while (2007) since I last missed one. Good luck and welcome to the team to Harry Benjamin who’s standing in for me.”

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Comment of the day

As Lewis Hamilton admits on the new season of Drive to Survive that he warned Mercedes about potential problems with the design of their 2022 car, Keith Campbell isn’t so sure Mercedes had the wrong idea…

Sorry, but no driver can predict the development trajectory of a car concept. They can of course give feedback on the car’s current performance and limitations – and clearly the W12 and early W13 had issues – but the driver has no real idea of the development potential from an engineering perspective. Hamilton may or may not have been correct to push the team to abandon their original concept and change direction, but we’ll never know where they would be this year or next if they had stuck with it.

Now it seems like Red Bull have adopted some designs that are not dissimilar to some of Mercedes’ concepts. Perhaps if Mercedes had stayed on the same path, they could have solved their issues and got a jump on the opposition. Now, they are locked into playing catch-up on a concept that Red Bull have had a good understanding of since the beginning of the regulations, had perhaps approached the limit of, and have subsequently evolved into something likely even better.
Keith Campbell

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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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47 comments on “Sainz will “take my time” to decide future team”

  1. Alonso: “I’m so good, I’m worth 3 tenths of a second a lap in development” (never saw this, but maybe?)

    F1 fans: “Yeah!! Go Alonso!!!”

    Hamilton: “I told them it was a crap car, and they said I was wrong.” (it was a crap car)

    F1 fans: “Hamilton’s a drama queen who thinks he understands engineering! haha!”

    Hamilton has seen his share of Really Bad Cars– MP4-24, anyone?

    1. However, Alonso has never even hinted: ‘I told the team they were wrong because I know how to make a better car than they do.’
      The worst thing Hamilton has driven in F1 is still better than many of Alonso’s.
      The MP4-24 took 5 podiums, including 2 wins – not exactly a complete dud. How about the MP4-30, then, and the next few thereafter…?

      1. I’m afraid you haven’t read enough Spanish press so as to say that Alonso has never hinted his arrogant and megalomaniac demeanor that journalists always strive to cover or even justify.

    2. In development? Nah, it’s three tenths period. And it’s blatantly obvious that it’s often even more when you look at this team mates.

    3. Driver A: “I’m so good, I’m worth 3 tenths of a second a lap in development”
      Driver B: “I told them it was a crap car, and they said I was wrong.”

      Take the names away and driver B still sounds like a drama queen.

      “Hamilton has seen his share Really Bad Cars”
      – No he hasn’t. Many drivers had their entire 10 year long and longer careers full of bad cars and nothing else. Hamilton has a car that gets his team into the 2 place in the Constructors Championship and you call it really bad??

      1. @Asd as an old Alonso fan and I would guess that Driver A and Driver B were both Alonso. “GP2 engine!” :)

    4. @grat If you’re referring to my comment of the day – I never said that Hamilton is a drama queen for his opinion. I just don’t think he made a particularly good point, and there’s no way we can definitively say whether it was the right call or not. There are just too many variables.

      And I would be equally skeptical of any driver claiming they can gain a team 3 tenths of a second, or any pace advantage on car development. Drivers don’t design cars, engineers do. No doubt a driver with good feedback is valuable to a team and can articulate what they feel in the car and what they need from it to go faster, but ultimately it is the engineers who come up with the solutions to achieve that. For the most part, my view is that engineers build the car based on experience, calculation, simulations & testing to be the fastest it can be, then the driver’s input is primarily in setting up that car to get the most out of it at every race track.

  2. I’ve got so many thoughts on the CotD opinion. It’s agreeable in that drivers aren’t aerodynamicists or engineers, but there’s also a big “perhaps if” in there. I think it’s far more likely that if they had stayed with the concept then the car would still be in the same place.

    Red Bull had a class-leading package, with the freedom to look at what others are doing and pick the best bits of them that simulations show would be an improvement. Mercedes on the other hand had a car that was fundamentally unstable and awkward for the drivers.

    Sure there could be a bit of opportunity for someone at Mercedes to say “I told you so” to Hamilton, but just because some parts of the car look similar doesn’t mean at all that Mercedes would have been able to get to where Red Bull are by continuing with their concept.

    Who knows, maybe none of this even matters and Red Bull are just having a laugh with Mercedes and the floor makes up 90% of the performance difference anyway. We have absolutely no idea.

    1. Mercedes’ simulations and wind tunnel work said zero-pod would be a fantastic car too. The problem is, Mercedes didn’t have the understanding of the suspension requirements that Newey does– there’s a reason why he stepped up and did the suspension design on the RB18 personally.

      Hamilton, and Russell, knew the W13 was terrible, and the W14 wasn’t much better. The fact that the instant Allison took over again, dropped the zero-pod design, and the car got better, Mike Elliot left, says much. The fact that Allison has never been short of praise talking about Lewis Hamilton and his understanding of an F1 car, or his ability to give feedback, says even more.

      Drivers don’t need to be engineers to give feedback on a car.

      Mercedes made too many compromises to make the zero-pod concept work on the W13. Had they actually listened to Hamilton on the weaknesses the W13 had, and redesigned the suspension / layout for the W14, it’s entirely possible they could have made the car work, but they apparently focused primarily on the aero issues when they designed the W14.

      The zero-pod concept is brilliant, and has massive potential, but it’s not easy to make work. If Newey can make it work, the other teams need to be Very Very Afraid. And let’s not forget– remove Red Bull from the 2023 standings, and Mercedes wins Constructor’s and Driver’s championship with the “failed” W14.

      On the other hand, Max was having serious problems with the rear end of the car with cold, hard tires during the morning session on day 1 of testing.

      1. it’s entirely possible

        Same energy as the “perhaps if” it was possible sure, but was it likely? Mercedes didn’t seem to think so.

    2. @skipgamer I think the “perhaps if” is kind of my point. It’s “perhaps if” either way. Hamilton’s comment suggests the engineers were telling him he was wrong, but he was right. The truth is, it’s very hard to tell who was right or wrong, because it depends on predicting how things will develop in the future. Maybe the engineers thought that having gone this far down the development path on their concept it was best to stay on that path, and perhaps they were close to making the breakthrough they needed. But I agree, it’s just as possible that had they stayed on that path, they would still have a troublesome car at the start of this year.

      Different people within the team can also have different priorities and ambitions. I just feel like the decision to abandon their concept and try to play catch-up based on Redbull’s philosophy is a bit of a ‘play it safe’ strategy. Sure, they may very well solidify their place as the 2nd best team for the next couple of years, but they may also have given up on any potential advantage they had on RB which would have allowed them to compete with or overhaul them before the next regulation change.

  3. someone or something
    23rd February 2024, 1:44

    This is a test message, pay it no mind.

    1. Would you like a test reply? If so, let me know :)

      1. You paid it mind! That’s specifically what it told you not to do!

    2. I definitely remember seeing this name before on this website!

  4. Surely Sainz has to end up at Audi given the real Carlos Sainz just won Dakar for them?
    He’d easily be better than either driver they currently have.

    1. It’s not sure if Audi is coming into F1 as they have some internal problems.

      1. Red bull is helping them with their internal investigation so they’ll be ok

  5. David Croft is just the latest F1-adjacent figure to adopt a part-time schedule, as the expansion of the calendar puts greater pressure on everyone involved. I’m not opposed to having more races by any means, but it makes you wonder about sustainability for those who have no choice but to attend every round.

    1. @red-andy
      Although in this specific case I’m not complaining…

      1. If more races means less Croft, then we cannot have enough races in a season.

    2. Add that to the fact that he is also getting married this year . . . .

    3. Croft should take a look at himself and realise what a privileged position he’s in, doing a job he loves. Sacrifice come with F1, he should have known this before he started. There are hundreds who would love his job…

      Obviously I’m deliberately being facetious, as this is the rubbish we get when a mechanic complains that 24 is too many.

      In actual fact, 3 is 21 too few! I have a new reason to look forward to these races now! :)

      1. Same. Wasn’t planning on watching any races live this season unless it’s close for the title/win but I’m going to watch those three now! Always prefer the first session when he isn’t commentating. Shame it’s not possible to listen to F1 TV commentary

      2. Shame they don’t seem to have made clear which three races and wether or not they are consecutive

        1. Emilia-Romagna, Austrian and Azerbaijan Grands Prix

          1. Well thanks

    4. Commentators don’t need to attend the circuits any more, so they can’t really use that as an excuse. Commentary can be produced anywhere with electricity and an internet connection.
      And let’s be honest, they can afford to cut back their work hours – F1 commentary team member isn’t a minimum wage kind of job.

      As for everyone else in F1 – they don’t need to attend every event either.
      Everyone is replaceable in a team ‘sport’. Even the drivers.

  6. Should we rule out any connection between Croft missing 3 rounds and the Horner investigation?

    1. I am almost certain they’re completely unrelated. 24 races a year is an insane amount and will certainly take it’s toll on more people than just the drivers. Brundle has been missing the odd race here and there for a few years now, I think Ted has been doing the same as well, just so they can take a bit of a break. I strongly expect that is the only reason behind this.

    2. Why would they be connected?

      1. Croft is being investigated for unnecessary commentary.

        1. good one

  7. The FIA has renewed the three-star environmental accreditation granted to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya by its sustainability programme

    I wonder how many stars the new “half permanent, half temporary” Madrid circuit will get?

  8. Sainz should be looking at Red Bull / Mercedes and vice-versa. I don’t see a better driver / better team that is out of contact / out of driver right now.

    With Leclerc, Hamilton, Verstappen, Norris, Piastri, Russell all tied down, who else is better than Sainz on the grid?

    1. Yeah, Red Bull looks the natural destination for Sainz. That never means it will happen, however!

      1. That would be great for fans but two season too late. Daniel won’t want to be disrespected again if he joins so hopefully whichever one gets the seat is more competitive than Perez, and also receives equal treatment no matter what

  9. Ferrari should seriously run three cars.

    1. Are they allowed to?

      1. Yes, they just need to buy out Haas, call it ‘Ferrari Racing’, name the chassis SF01 and they’re in the clear.

        1. Fair enough they should actually do it, will force FIAs hand

        2. Gene haas said they’re not for sale though, so they first need to sabotage haas, so that they go bankrupt, for example by crashing into them every race they (ferrari) aren’t fighting for important points, then when haas is desperately looking for a buyer, they can buy them out and then I agree with your idea.

          1. Don’t they just need to throw money at Haas and call it “Haas CashApp Ferrari”?

      2. It’s just my personal opinion.
        Merc should run three cars as well.

        1. Fair enough they should actually do it, will force FIAs hand

  10. All Sainz has to do is, better him self from last year, plenty of people will be interested in what he knows and his success if he can hold on to it. Especially Red Bull Racing.

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