Carlos Sainz felt the writing on the wall from within at Ferrari as Lewis Hamilton was shockingly announced as his future replacement, though the Spaniard knows “what I am worth as a driver” and teased “good things” for his future.
Driver contract talks was a key area of attention for Ferrari over the off-season, both Charles Leclerc and Sainz needing new deals if they were to remain with the team beyond F1 2024.
For Leclerc the new contract came, but the wait for a Sainz announcement rolled on, until the unthinkable happened as it was announced that seven-time World Champion Hamilton will swap Mercedes for Ferrari come 2025, leaving Sainz out in the cold.
Carlos Sainz not ‘disappointed’ with Ferrari’s Lewis Hamilton decision
Speaking to Sky Italia, Sainz said he was “prepared” for what was coming, but rather than dwelling on Ferrari’s decision, he is focused on going out on a high, reaffirming his goal to challenge for the World Championship in F1 2024.
Asked if he was surprised or disappointed by Ferrari’s decision, Sainz replied: “No, I was not disappointed.
“Living Ferrari from the inside, I already knew several things and I prepared with the team for the changes ahead, though I don’t want to think about anything other than how to give my all this season for Ferrari.
“I am calm, we are already working on the future, but we know that we have a very important season ahead of us. This will be my last year at Ferrari, so I want to do the best I can.
“For sure it’s not the best feeling to start the season with, but the moment I put on my helmet in Bahrain and take to the track, the only feeling I’ll have is the will to go harder and harder, aiming also for the World Championship victory.”
Sainz raised his stock significantly in 2023 as the only non-Red Bull grands prix winner as he took the chequered flag in Singapore, with a host of teams such as Williams, Sauber and Mercedes now linked as his potential next destination.
The Spaniard reiterated that his mindset remains Ferrari-focused at this stage, with no concerns over his career beyond Maranello as the two-time grands prix winner knows what he can bring to the table.
“I am aware of what I am worth as a driver, and for that reason I am very calm when I look to the future,” said Sainz.
“Good things will definitely come, but for now my goal remains to do my best with Ferrari.”
Should Sainz pull off the achievement of World Championship glory in his final Ferrari season, then it would be the team’s first Drivers’ title triumph since 2007.