Sainz: Ferrari more important than Leclerc battle

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz Charles Leclerc

Carlos Sainz Charles Leclerc

Carlos Sainz was clear that for 2021 it is more important than perhaps any other season that he and Charles Leclerc work together.

The Spaniard arrives at Ferrari off the back of two seasons with McLaren which produced a pair of podium finishes, and even though Ferrari slumped to P6 in the 2020 Constructors’ Standings, Sainz believes Ferrari is the place to be as he targets World Championship glory within the next five years.

“For me to achieve this at 26 years old, is something that I have obviously fought for,” he said at Ferrari’s official team launch.

“In five years, my target is to be a World Champion. I do believe that Ferrari is the best place to try and achieve that. I think I am in the right place at the right time and we just need a bit of time to try and make it happen.

“You know you are part of [Ferrari’s] history, so it is a huge responsibility for everyone. Ferrari has been the most successful Formula 1 team in history, it is also a team that has generated passion all around the world with the tifosi.

“You know you need to carry this responsibility on your shoulders. Right now Ferrari is in an important moment, we are trying to recover together and bring Ferrari back to the top, so it requires a lot of team building.

“As soon as the results start showing there is going to be a great momentum generated inside the team, and we are all going to feel even more excited about the future.

“Now what Ferrari needs is two good drivers pushing each other and pushing in the same direction to make sure the car keeps getting quicker and quicker.”

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While Sainz of course wants to be competitive against his new team-mate Charles Leclerc, he was also clear that in 2020 the pair need to focus on working together to build a successful future for themselves and Ferrari.

“It’s a combination of respect and competitivness, at least for myself,” said Sainz, referring to his relationship with Leclerc.

“For me it will be very difficult for me to beat him this year, because I don’t know the team yet and the car, but you always give everything you’ve got, so I’ll try to beat him.

“I think there is something more important to keep in mind which is making Ferrari move forwards together more than our own battle.

“If there’s one year I think we will have to work well together it is this one, to help. When there’s a World Championship or something more special we’ll worry about each other a bit more.

“I think we need to respect the team and Ferrari, we want to move ahead.”

Despite still being only 26, Sainz feels he brings experience to the Ferrari line-up, though the incidents like Romain Grosjean’s Bahrain crash was a reminder that every driver is putting their lives on the line to compete in Formula 1.

“I also think that I have more experience in Formula 1, more than my team-mates, and people who do the same job as me,” Sainz explained.

“Because I know it is difficult to drive a Formula 1 car, the ones we drive, accidents like [Romain] Grosjean’s make you think a bit more. We are all here, putting our lives on the line, so we want to have a competition, but also respect each other, because what we do is special.”

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