Carlos Sainz is keeping his cards close to his chest, but has dropped a hint that talks over a Ferrari contract extension are in progress.
The Spaniard made a big success of his first season with the Scuderia, joining his fourth team in Formula 1 for the start of the 2021 campaign.
Rather than having to play second fiddle to well-established team-mate Charles Leclerc throughout the 22 races, Sainz made significant strides in the latter part of the year especially and ended up outscoring his colleague.
Not only did he notch up five more points than Leclerc, he also finished highest in the Drivers’ Championship of everyone outside the two dominant teams, Mercedes and Red Bull.
No wonder, then, that Ferrari would be keen to tie down Sainz for the medium term at least, for at the age of 27 he ought to have plenty more years ahead of him – and further improvement.
Ever since the final race of last season, it has been reported an extended deal between team and driver could be in the offing, and after the launch of the new F1-75 car there was an update – of sorts – from Sainz.
🏎 F1-75! Meet my new ride for 2022! Vamos @ScuderiaFerrari! Thoughts?? I love it!!
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) February 17, 2022
“I have to say there’s nothing to say,” he remarked with a smile, quoted by the German edition of Motorsport.com.
However, put to him whether both sides want to prolong their partnership, he added that was “pretty clear for Ferrari and me”.
“We are both happy with the situation and want to continue working together.”
In terms of when that process might be finalised, the former Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren driver added: “As soon as possible. At the moment, however, nothing is sealed yet.”
During the online launch of the F1-75, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, who took on a presenter-type role for the occasion, addressed Sainz directly with what he hopes to see from him in 2022.
“I think when we met and we decided to go together more than a year ago, I think nobody would have expected you to be so fast very soon,” said Binotto to the driver.
“It has not been a surprise to us, but I think you fit very well in the new environment.
“Since the start of the season you improved and finished in a very strong manner. So I’m expecting you furthermore to raise the bar in 2022.”
A natural target for Sainz will be a first F1 race victory, his best results so far having been second in Italy (2020) and Monaco (2021) in addition to four third-placed finishes.
Sainz has title dream with Ferrari
Carlos Sainz says his highest ambition is to win a World Championship with Ferrari.