Carlos Sainz rubbishes rumours about his relationship with Fernando Alonso

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, neither happy. Australia April 2023

Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, neither happy. Australia April 2023

With two incidents in two races, Carlos Sainz has denied reports of tension between himself and his compatriot Fernando Alonso.

Sainz made headlines at the Australian Grand Prix when he tipped Alonso into a spin in a late-race restart that resulted in a five-second penalty for the Ferrari driver.

Alonso was reinstated into third place when the stewards counted back one lap for the final restart of a chaotic grand prix with Alonso bagging his third successive podium of the season. Sainz fell to 12th with his penalty with Alonso declaring that was a harsh call.

One race later, though, he felt his compatriot got off lightly when they clashed in Baku.

Gaining ground on the Ferrari driver after a Safety Car restart in the sprint race, Alonso attempted to attack Sainz but felt the 28-year-old put in a late block that “put me into the wall at the entry of Turn 2.

“So I had to lift off. If I didn’t lift off, we would have both crashed. I hope the FIA will look at this now and maybe a top five is still possible.”

No action was taken against Sainz although Alonso’s complaints did spark reports of tension between the two Spaniards, something Sainz has denied.

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“There is no problem between Fernando and me despite what some have tried to show,” he said in an interview with Marca.

“Our relationship continues to be very good and it is neither the first nor the last battle that we are going to have on the track.

“It is normal for some actions to be tighter than others, but with the visor down we all want the same thing and fight for what is ours. It’s the beauty of racing and as long as there is respect between all the drivers there will be no problem.”

The Spaniard also weighed in on questions as to whether new team boss Fred Vasseur was showing any favouritism towards his team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc and Vasseur have a history dating back to the Monégasque driver’s junior career which prompted speculation that the new Ferrari team boss could install him as Ferrari’s number one.

Sainz says that hasn’t happened, nor does he believe it will.

He said: “I can say that I have a very good relationship with him [Vasseur] and for Charles and me the priority is to return Ferrari to victory.

“When two drivers have that in their heads, the particular fight is in the background.

“I can assure you that the number of hours that we are putting into the simulator, in meetings with engineers, in every detail to pull the car with Ferrari, Fred likes it.”

Asked when Spain can expect a first win for the season from their driver, a second in Sainz’s career, he admitted: “We still have to improve our race pace, our weak point. I hope to find the rhythm again in Miami.

“I think the second win could be close, but for now we need some help from Red Bull. I think that last year we didn’t need it so much, we could win with the car… but I hope that soon we can beat them and win a race this year, because there is a lot of championship left and many types of circuit.

“I don’t know when suddenly but it will be possible.”