“I didn’t come to Ferrari to be a wingman”. Carlos Sainz had presented himself with the right amount of self-confidence when he was officially confirmed to join the Scuderia Ferrari in May 2020, as the Spanish driver signed a contract valid for the 2021 and 2022 Formula One seasons.
In his first year alongside the Maranello team, Carlos Sainz went beyond all expectations, finishing fifth in the drivers’ standings ahead of former teammate Lando Norris and ahead of his current partner Charles Leclerc, beaten by five and a half points. Carlos Sainz collected four podium finishes during the 2021 F1 season against the only second place obtained by the Monegasque driver at Silverstone, even if in the British Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc came very close to an amazing victory by leading the Grand Prix for a long time only to surrender in the final laps as Lewis Hamilton recovered from a time penalty to take the win.
Such balanced performances between Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, combined with the fact that the – numerous – duels on the track between the two never resulted in contact, meant that Ferrari was able to clearly beat McLaren in the fight for third place in the Constructors’ standings, won by the Maranello team by a large margin. An objective achieved also thanks to the introduction in the championship final of an updated hybrid system of the power unit, but the path towards the redemption of a decidedly bitter 2020 began in winter as Mattia Binotto reiterated during the confidential press conference reserved for the team principals in Abu Dhabi:
“Carlos Sainz proved to be a ‘student’ who learns quickly and spent the winter practically entirely in Maranello alongside the engineers which has paid off. Having organized a test at Fiorano with the car from a few seasons ago simply to try out all the procedures was an important step. His growth has been continuous and constant throughout the season, evidently Charles Leclerc was also a good teacher. It is really important for us to count on both drivers, such a balanced pair is the key to aiming for a good position in the constructors’ championship. In the last few races they have practically always fought wheel to wheel and this is an encouraging dynamic for the future”.
The future will finally coincide with the 2022 Formula 1 season long awaited by Ferrari, its drivers and the Prancing Horse fans, as the Italian side is called to become a great protagonist after two seasons without a race win. Carlos Sainz’s current contract will expire at the end of 2022, and it would not be surprise to learn about a contract extension for the Spanish driver during this winter in light of such a convincing debut. Facing a delicate 2022 season without doubts about the future would certainly be psychologically important for the Spaniard and consequently for the whole Scuderia Ferrari team.