Carlos Sainz says he had to “take the chance” on joining Ferrari despite acknowledging that McLaren is a team “going forward”.
While McLaren has come to the fore this season, Ferrari has slumped.
The Woking team has as many podiums as Ferrari from the first three races, both having achieved a top-three showing at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
McLaren, though, has shown the better form since.
Scoring 41 points, the team is holding down third place in the Constructors’ Championship with Ferrari P5 on just 27.
With Formula 1 set to continue with this year’s cars in next year’s championship, Ferrari is potentially facing two painful seasons. The second of which will have Sainz in the car.
The Spaniard, though, insists he does not regret his decision to sign for Ferrari for the 2021 championship.
“I know that now there are a lot of question marks regarding Ferrari’s performance,” he told Sky Sports.
“But if you look down the history then obviously Ferrari is the most successful team in Formula 1.
“If you are the right guy for that seat, and I believe I am, then why not take the chance?”
He will, however, be walking away from a team that has shown great strides forward over the past season years.
Last year Sainz bagged McLaren’s first podium in five campaigns when he finished third at the Brazilian GP while this year Lando Norris has put the MCL on the podium.
Sainz lauded McLaren’s progress especially as the team realised it had got it wrong with the 2018 car and was open to trying a different approach.
“I’ve seen this team evolve in the last two years and it’s quite impressive,” said the 25-year-old.
“The way the team changed its approach at the end of 2018 when they realised they hadn’t produced a good car.
“And the way they suddenly turned up to 2019 with a completely new approach, evolved as a team in 2019 to become better and stronger, and bond together.
“Then the way we went into 2020 starting the season so strongly, I just think this team is going to keep going forward.”
As for whether McLaren is in this year’s order, Sainz said it is still too early to tell.
“It’s very difficult to tell where the actual pecking order in Formula 1 is right now,” he said, “but definitely I am very happy with how the car is feeling at the moment.
“This season hasn’t yet clicked like it did last year, but we have time still.”