Carlos Sainz insists he has the patience to wait until 2022 before even challenging for a podium when he moves to Ferrari next season.
Before the 2020 campaign began, Sainz was named as the replacement for Sebastian Vettel next year at Ferrari to partner Charles Leclerc.
Although this has not so far been a strong last season at McLaren for the Spaniard, he must still be somewhat concerned about his decision because Ferrari have fallen from being World Championship hopefuls to a distinct midfield team.
The Italian giants’ president, John Elkann, has said he expects it to be 2022 before Ferrari are competing for victories again.
If Sainz does find himself racing mid-pack again next term, it would be nothing new – his only top-three finish in F1 came at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix courtesy of a post-race penalty issued to Lewis Hamilton, so he did not even get to stand on the podium.
But the 25-year-old is prepared to accept short-term pain in the interests of long-term gain in the expectation that his switch to Ferrari does eventually pay off.
“I can wait one more year for sure,” said Sainz during an interview with Sky Sports F1.
“I haven’t fought for a Formula 1 win or even a podium for six years. I can do another year without those, so I think you need to accept that 2021 is going to be a tough year for everyone.
“I think every team needs the rule change (in 2022), everything needs a bit of a fresh start to try and trouble Mercedes because at the moment even Ferrari or Red Bull, you can see we are all just too far off.
“They (Mercedes) are just doing a better job and we need to reconsider how we approach Formula 1 and what kind of team you want in order to have a chance.”
As part of the next phase of Sainz’s career, he and Leclerc are to base themselves at Ferrari’s HQ in Maranello so they can work closely in the development of the car.
“I think in the first year when you are new to a team it’s very important to spend some extra hours there and I think Mattia (Binotto, team principal) was extremely positive about that,” added Sainz.
“Now it feels like it’s going to be the normal thing so I’m happy about it. Experiencing that last year (with McLaren) for me was very important to know how important it is to get close to a team and I’m definitely looking forward to carrying that into the move to Ferrari.”