Carlos Sainz would have wanted a renewal with Maranello, but Ferrari made other choices: now he has to live a season as a separate entity at home and make the most of a future that currently offers him three or four concrete options.
When “Hammer time” strikes on the track, usually, it’s a bit painful for everyone. Only, this time, “Hammer time” didn’t ring on the track, between one fast lap and another: this time it struck on a February Thursday, on a day that changed the history of current and immediate future racing. It’s Lewis Hamilton’s Thursday at Ferrari starting from 2025, but it’s also the Thursday when Carlos Sainz discovers that there is no place for him at Maranello anymore. Thus, closing a story that everyone thought, until a few hours before, could have had a very different outcome, and sending a very clear message to Maranello: “Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and I will not continue together at the end of 2024. We still have a long season ahead of us, and, as always, I will give everything for the team and for the fans worldwide. We will announce news about my future when the time is right.”
SAINZ, A 2024 AS A SEPARATE ENTITY
In a way, the “Binotto era” comes to a close with Carlos Sainz. In just over a year, Fred Vasseur said goodbye to David Sanchez, Laurent Mekies, repositioned Inaki Rueda, and did not renew Carlos Sainz, faces close to the former team principal. It must be said, however, that Carlos Sainz, sincerely saddened by Mattia Binotto’s departure, had never had problems with Fred Vasseur: whether it was Mattia or Fred as his team boss, he never hid his desire to stay long at Ferrari. A desire shared by many drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, who, in the final sprint of his career, fulfills a dream that seemed forbidden until the day before yesterday. Yet, in an F1 that seemed frozen from a market perspective, Lewis Hamilton made “Hammer time” ring, causing an earthquake that now opens unexpected and intriguing scenarios. Starting from the next Formula 1 season, 2024: a separated-at-home Hamilton in Mercedes and a separated-at-home Carlos Sainz in Ferrari will likely be very discussed topics.
CARLOS WILL HAVE TO BE PATIENT
The first discussions about the near future start precisely from here, from how Lewis and Carlos will behave in their respective teams before the farewell. Among the two, the most uncomfortable position is that of the Spaniard: Lewis already has a contract, and in his case, the farewell to the team was his decision. Carlitos doesn’t: he doesn’t have a contract yet, and he didn’t want the divorce. In this context, one can do the math and think less about team play and much more about oneself in the first GPs of 2024; it would be logical and human: just stay professional, but from this point of view, Carlitos provides guarantees. He always looks a lot at the internal comparison, but this absolutely does not mean expecting, let’s say, “strange” behaviors: his career speaks for him, and apart from an incident with Kvyat at Silverstone 2017 (where the blame, among other things, was on the Russian), he has never had issues with teammates, not even when he knew he had to say goodbye.
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If, from this point of view, there are guarantees of a still serene season within the Prancing Horse, then it won’t be easy: because the long farewell will begin when, talking about the future, the Spaniard will be forced to wait outside the door of the briefings, especially when discussing the 2025 car and related solutions to be tested in free practice, a task that, given the circumstances, will belong solely to Charles Leclerc in the second part of the imminent championship. It will be a bit hard to digest, but it’s the fate of all drivers waiting for a move to another team: it will be the same for Lewis in the silver box.
THE COMPARISON WITH LECLERC
The real question, however, is another: where will Carlos Sainz go now? The Spaniard has reasonably held his own in the internal comparison over three seasons with Charles Leclerc, perhaps not highlighting the same instinctive speed but emphasizing an exceptional work ethic, proving to be methodical and analytical, qualities appreciated in Maranello. The numbers say 3-2 in favor of the Monegasque when it comes to victories, 18-16 regarding podiums, 16-5 for poles in favor of Charles (where there is the most difference), and 673 against 610.5 in terms of points, always in favor of the Monegasque