Sainz integration played vital role in Ferrari recovery

Maria Bright
Carlos Sainz sitting in his Ferrari. Russia September 2021

Ferrari managed to salvage third place in the Constructors’ Championship last year as Carlos Sainz, a new Scuderia driver for 2021, saved them from having a “completely off” season.

Sainz finished fifth in the Drivers’ Standings, five and a half points ahead of team-mate, Charles Leclerc, and had a 90% success rate of scoring points throughout the 22 races.

Laurent Mekies, racing director and head of track area at Ferrari, has said that the second half of the 2021 season was a lot stronger for the team as they were more unified with new arrival Sainz.

Speaking on a more positive ending of the season, Mekies said, as quoted by Motorsport-Total.com: “We have made some progress in integrating Carlos. He has brought a lot of very solid feedback and approaches from his previous experiences.

“But it took time to combine those with our own approaches to eventually make the best use of them together with Charles. I think that translated into double points in the second half of the season.”

Charles Leclerc has been with the Scuderia for three years; and after Sainz joined, the team initially struggled to get good results, but changes were made to put Ferrari in a better place.

Mekies added: “We invested in our tools, we made better preparations and they are now executed better.

“On top of that, there is the integration of Carlos. You have to learn to speak the same language and that takes time.”

The Italian based team have been in F1 for over 70 years, with over 230 wins, making it unusual for them not to be title contenders.

But with Sainz’s fresh feedback, and having a different approach to what Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto is used to, it meant that the team had a healthy end to the 2021 season.

 

Meikes continued: “At the beginning of the season or the year before, it was very easy to be completely off in the race.

“I think in the second half of the season that didn’t happen anymore. The last time was in France when we had tyre drama.”

Sainz’s contract ends this year but there are rumours that it will be extended; meanwhile Leclerc remains with the team until at least 2024.

Is Sainz a future F1 race winner?

Zak Brown believes that Carlos Sainz will be an F1 race winner.