Sainz ‘not at all’ prepared for first race

Date published: March 12 2021

Carlos Sainz

After the first day of pre-season testing, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz says that he doesn’t feel at all prepared for the first race of the year.

The Spaniard joined the Italian team from McLaren for the 2021 campaign and had already driven a Ferrari in Fiorano prior to testing in Bahrain.

He then completed a total of 57 laps in the Friday afternoon session at the Sakhir circuit and had few issues.

Despite this, he doesn’t feel ready for the new season.

“I feel prepared for testing, definitely. Prepared for race one? Not at all,” he said after the session.

“Compared to the knowledge I had of the McLaren to set it up to my liking and exactly how to drive it under wind conditions, new tyres… How to change the front wing, the switches, I have no idea yet about the Ferrari.

“So very unprepared for race one, but at least we’re testing. I feel like I arrived as prepared as I could and I actually had a decent start.

“[I need to] keep improving my understanding, going through different compounds, fuel loads, different conditions because the wind changes the balance of the car massively and today was pretty windy out there.

“Everything. I need to just test all the windows of the car, all the windows of performance of the car, just to have a clue what to expect in race one.”

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Sainz’s new team-mate, Charles Leclerc, was at the wheel of the SF21 for the Friday morning session in Bahrain and made a steady start, putting a number of laps on the board.

However, with just 10 minutes left, he pulled over to the side of the road, causing the first Red Flag of 2021.

It wasn’t clear exactly what the problem was at the time, but the team have now stated that they instructed him to park the car as a precaution after seeing something in the data.

“At 10 on the dot, Charles dove out of the pits onto the Sakhir track for a short first run with the car fitted with a rake, which helps gather data for the engineers on how the car is behaving,” said a statement on the team website.

“Then, after a quick check, Leclerc was back on track for some longer runs with the C2 compound, doing several laps in consistent conditions. He drove from 10 up to just before 2 pm, also running the C3 compound.

“However with ten minutes remaining, he was instructed by the team to park the car at the side of the track because of an anomaly with the combustion spotted on the telemetry.”

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