Behind the scenes, Ferrari is working on contract renewals with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with negotiations starting in the final part of the season. For the Spanish driver, they are working on a two-year agreement, with the aim of putting pen to paper before the start of the next championship, to face the season with greater tranquility. Carlos Sainz’s hope is to stay for a long time in a team where he feels happy.
One of the topics discussed most in the second half of the season has been the renewals of Charles and Carlos Sainz, both expiring at the end of 2024. As the drivers and the Team Principal had anticipated during the year, discussions would only start towards the end of the championship, so it’s not surprising that an announcement did not come before the end of the world championship.
During the Christmas lunch shared with Formula 1 journalists in the lounge set up by Ferrari at the Fiorano circuit, Frederic Vasseur himself confirmed that he had started talking to the drivers, adding, however, that they are slightly behind the initial plan due to the tumultuous end of the championship. Nevertheless, the Maranello team aims to close the renewal matter soon, by the beginning of the 2024 season.
This hope is also shared by Carlos Sainz, who has reiterated that his priority is to continue with Ferrari for many more years. He has been with the team for three seasons now and has achieved his first pole position and first victory in Formula 1 with them.
“The reality is that, obviously, as Fred [Vasseur] said, there have been negotiations. My goal is to start 2024 knowing where I will race in 2025. I wouldn’t want to start the season without knowing my next destination. And my priority is to stay with Ferrari for many more years. I am very happy; both parties are very happy, and the goal is to continue. But we have to reach an agreement, and we have these three months until the next race to achieve it,” said Carlos Sainz in an interview related to a team sponsor, understandably emphasizing his desire to know his future before the start of the next season.
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Recently, there have been rumors that Ferrari has proposed a one-year renewal to explore additional options for the future. The Iberians have also pushed to understand if Sainz will be granted a two-year renewal, as expected. Undoubtedly, the Ferrari driver aims for a long-term contract, especially because in the past, in both 2017 and 2018, he found himself in a situation where he was unsure about his future. His goal is, therefore, to find stability with a contract that guarantees the ability to work serenely for the next few years, a topic very dear to the drivers.
“I don’t intend to comment on speculation. I want to say that, obviously, I want to renew, and when I renew, as you know, I like to renew for more than a year, not just for two. You know what my intentions are, and honestly, I feel perfectly appreciated by Fred [Vasseur] and by the entire Ferrari family in general. I feel loved,” Carlos Sainz added.
“Therefore, I will renew if I feel this way and if I feel appreciated, which as a driver is the main priority. I am convinced that if both parties want it, we will reach an agreement on a duration that satisfies me.”
Looking back at 2023, the Spaniard also tried to frame the positive moments of the just-concluded season, pointing to the victory in Singapore and the podium at Monza as the most significant satisfactions. Although Marina Bay was not his first career win in the top tier, it undoubtedly has a different flavor, not only because it came after starting from pole but also for how he managed the pressure during the Grand Prix: “I think overall it was a season with some really beautiful moments. A year that obviously has the weekend of Singapore and the moment of Monza that I will never forget, a very nice moment in my racing career.”
Similarly, the Italian weekend at Monza represented one of the best moments of his season, not only for the pole obtained on Saturday but also for the podium in front of the Prancing Horse fans at the end of a good race. “Within the team, not much has changed compared to the race; Ferrari knows what I’m capable of, they’ve been observing me for three years. The team knows everything; there are no secrets; they know my qualities, what I’m capable of,” Carlos Sainz said when asked if the good performance in Italy had changed anything within the team before shifting focus to what that race meant in terms of the relationship with the fans.
“Perhaps Monza was an extra message for the fans, making such a fun, lively race, giving everything to keep Ferrari ahead of Red Bull in the early laps was to have an extra connection with the fans, to see me give my all for them and to keep Ferrari ahead. I have had a good relationship with the team since I arrived, and I hope that the Italian fans enjoyed it, that they saw what I am willing to do [for them].”