Carlos Sainz officially began life as a Ferrari driver with a seat fitting and a tour of Ferrari’s Maranello base.
After two very successful seasons with McLaren, Sainz makes the move to Ferrari where he will partner Charles Leclerc for the 2021 season.
The Spaniard signed off at McLaren by helping them to P3 in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship, but now he faces a far bigger challenge as the iconic Ferrari team look to recover from a P6 finish in the 2020 standings, their worst showing since 1980.
In his first day in Ferrari red Sainz completed a seat fitting ahead of a testing session in January behind the wheel of the Ferrari SF71H from the 2018 season.
He was also given a tour of Ferrari’s famous Maranello factory.
“A very simple program. A tour of the factory, as a tourist would. We showed him around the offices and departments,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto told AS when asked what Sainz had been doing on his first day at Ferrari.
“That will be important when he starts. A tour to immerse himself in the values and history of Ferrari. The seat was made to prepare for the January test, but he has not held any technical meetings, however, he has met his engineers and his workgroup.
“I had lunch with him and Charles, I’m glad to get to know them a little more. Very simple.”
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) December 19, 2020
Binotto has already confirmed that Sainz and Leclerc will start the 2021 season on a level playing field without any team orders.
“There is nothing in the contract of Charles [about] him being the leader. They will be free to fight on track,” said Binotto, quoted by the BBC.
“It is important they will not damage themselves. They will have equal opportunities at the start of the season.
“The top priority is to maximise the team points and it may be that in some races the two are accepting decisions to optimise the team’s interests, but by doing the team interest we are helping the driver interest.
“Later in the season, if one has a clear advantage and one can achieve something the other cannot, it will be an open discussion [about team orders].”
Sainz replaces four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel who will join Aston Martin for 2021 as Racing Point prepare for their rebranding.