Two victories, five pole positions, and sixteen podiums. That’s the hunting tally for Carlos Sainz since he stepped into Ferrari. Whether it’s bountiful or meager, the Spaniard, leaving McLaren to make the big leap into the most famous and successful team ever, imagined being able to rely on more performing cars that would consistently lead him to the fight for the top step of the podium.
The numbers revealed above tell a story of a reality made up of less performing cars and an adaptation to the new generation that came after various struggles and following a 2022 that, despite the victory at Silverstone, the first in his career, took on the characteristics of a calvary, given that the gap from his teammate was consistently too high on average.
Ferrari: Carlos Sainz’s wishes
On the eve of Christmas, with the last-minute gifts to buy, Sainz wrote his letter to Santa Claus – and to someone a bit higher up – making a very specific request but one that is unlikely to be fulfilled: “I ask 2024 for a car to win. Whether we win or not, only God knows. I ask to be able to start every weekend thinking I can win.” You said nothing, Carlos!
These words were given by the Ferrari driver to Dazn Spain, conditioned by the fact that he was addressing a friendly and supportive audience. However, Carlos Sainz, on other occasions, had expressed more measured concepts, talking about a Red Bull difficult to catch in the short span of a winter. The advantage of the RB19, which often remained partially concealed, could, therefore, be much more substantial than what was seen in the course of 22 races that were not a complete monologue thanks to the Madrid native, who broke Verstappen’s record streak in Singapore.
Carlos Sainz, in addition to dreaming of a car to excel, would ultimately also like to prove himself to be on par with that Leclerc who, even if Ferrari does not explicitly define him as such, seems to be the designated lead driver: “In every race, Charles and I are within half a tenth of each other, we are always close. He has great skill in a single lap, and also in the race in making comebacks and gaining positions at the start. We are a great pair.”
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“We are two drivers who get along very well, and I believe that for the team, having two drivers who push each other is ideal. There is a healthy competition between us, but the priority is always the team. Personally, I try to bite when I have to and control myself when it’s necessary to control myself.”
These statements suggest that the renewal is imminent after spending long months reflecting on various options that had arisen, also thanks to the behind-the-scenes work of his entourage, with dad Sainz checking Audi’s willingness to sign a driver who has repeatedly admitted not wanting to start 2024 without a renewed contract in his pocket.
According to Frédéric Vasseur during the pre-Christmas press conference, the extensions of the two drivers are progressing well. Although Charles’s should be longer. Not only for age-related reasons but because, as reiterated, the Prancing Horse believes that the Monegasque could be the man to bring the title back to Italy.
A championship that has been missing for a geological era considering the birth year of Formula One and that would have significant commercial and advertising implications. Because a Red at the top of the world is a powerful driving force. “When will Ferrari win again? I cannot answer for the role I have. As a fan, I hope soon; it is something that everyone wants.”
“It’s not up to me to comment on the situation in Maranello, but I hope it happens as soon as possible, without a shadow of a doubt.” These are the words of Stefano Domenicali, who could not disclose much but neither could hide the connection with a team for which he served for over twenty years.
Beyond Carlos Sainz’s wishes and the hopes of Formula One ownership, the journey for Maranello towards the golden summit remains difficult. For this reason, Fred Vasseur keeps his feet firmly on the ground without launching into flights too close to the sun. The driver’s title has been missing since the distant 2007, and perhaps more time is needed to make the conditions for winning another one concrete, which would literally explode the extensive red fan base.
At the factory, work is underway with confidence and realism merging into a necessary mix. On February 13, the 676 project will be unveiled, and we will also know the final name. And who knows if Carlos Sainz’s prayers will not be heard in the meantime…”
Source: Diego Catalano for FUnoanalisitecnica