Carlos Sainz played down the importance of his recent strong form in regards to his Ferrari future, saying he and the team were “already quite aligned”.
While the Japanese Grand Prix was not such a smooth operation for the Spaniard, Sainz had turned heads with his performances at the prior two rounds.
He would claim back-to-back poles for the Monza and Singapore GPs, securing victory at the latter to shatter Red Bull’s F1 2023 unbeaten run, also ensuring Max Verstappen’s consecutive wins streak ended at 10.
Carlos Sainz “in tune with Ferrari” over future plans
Ferrari has put contract talks with both Sainz and Charles Leclerc on hold until the end of F1 2023, with the pair set to see their current deals expire at the end of next season.
Sainz has consistently batted away rumours linking him to Audi, who will arrive on the grid for 2026, while Leclerc has continued verbally to commit to Ferrari, though remains in the dark over how the team sees things from their side.
And after it was put to Sainz by AS that now is the time to put his cards on Ferrari’s table following this spike in form, Sainz replied: “Yes, but they also knew it, and we know it, before these two races.
“Obviously, being in a good moment at a sporting level helps. But before these two races we were already quite aligned and in tune with Ferrari, with Fréd [Vasseur] and with everybody.”
Verstappen was a driver on a mission at Suzuka after seeing his and Red Bull’s streak of dominance come to an end, his margin over Sainz as he claimed pole standing at a second, while he won the race 50 seconds up the road from Sainz.
That being said, Sainz was not surprised to see Verstappen and Red Bull return to their best at Suzuka, pointing out that he was one of several drivers who predicted it would happen.
“It’s completely normal, where we have been all year,” said Sainz of that performance swing.
“I’m not surprised because he who warns is not a traitor, I already warned that everything would come back to reality and normality here. It’s what you get on this type of circuit with long, fast corners, with more wind. What makes us suffer.”
With Leclerc claiming P4 at Suzuka and Sainz P6, Ferrari were able to make further gains on Mercedes and that P2 spot in the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari’s deficit now down to 20 points.