Carlos Sainz admits to ‘uncomfortable’ frustration as ‘sad fact’ realised at Chinese GP

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz says he's feeling uncomfortable about not knowing where his F1 future lies.

Carlos Sainz says he is feeling the uncomfortable frustration of not knowing where his future lies, as his Ferrari tenure ticks past.

Sainz is in his last confirmed season with Ferrari, with the Scuderia having opted to sign Lewis Hamilton in his place, and the Spaniard now faces an uncertain future as he fights to land a new seat for 2025.

Carlos Sainz: It shows how tough F1 is

Sainz has been one of the star performers in F1 in 2024, having scored two podium finishes and a victory in the first five races – one of which he sat out with appendicitis – but is yet to confirm where he’ll be racing next season.

Linked with vacant seats at Red Bull, Mercedes, and Sauber ahead of Audi’s entry in 2026, Sainz is fortunate in that the driver market is far more tumultuous than usual with plenty of vacant cockpits.

But, despite this, the Spaniard has admitted he’s feeling quite uncomfortable about his predicament and said it’s frustrating it has coincided with a particular rich vein of form.

“I think, if it will be positive or negative, it will always depend on my performance,” he said in China when asked how difficult a period of time it is which he’s negotiating given the uncertainty of the 2026 regulations that are on the way.

“I think the good thing in this sport is that, if you perform well, normally things end up coming your way.

“It can be frustrating at times, I’m not going to lie. Going to bed some days without knowing what the future is going to bring, it’s sometimes frustrating, and uncomfortable.

“Other times, it’s exciting because there’s news every day – honestly, there are new things every day that come to you.

“The good thing is managing to separate things – performing well on track and leaving the other stuff to my management team.

“Things are progressing nicely but it shows how tough F1 is. Someone that maybe sees from the outside and says ‘The guy who is performing so well and still doesn’t know where he’s going to race next year’.

“In other sports, maybe these don’t happen so often also, it just shows F1 is a very particular sport – political in some ways, sport dependent in others, it is very particular in that way.

“But also exciting and also, in a way when Netflix puts it into the way they put it, it can be very exciting from the outside once you get to know the things that go [on] inside!”

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Carlos Sainz: I’m sad we cannot continue the journey with Ferrari

Having joined Ferrari in 2021, ahead of the current regulations, Sainz has played a key role alongside Charles Leclerc in helping the Scuderia progress to their current position as – arguably – the second-quickest team in F1 behind Red Bull.

Asked whether he feels frustrated that he has a strong car under him, knowing that the clock is ticking towards the day he steps out of it for the last time, but balanced out by the car allowing him to put his best foot forward for potential employers, Sainz said he’s sad not to be able to continue with Ferrari.

“It’s my fourth year in Ferrari, we’ve been three years working together, and the fact that all this hard work and all the time that I’ve spent in Maranello helping this team and developing together with this team, it’s a project that now is starting to pay off and we starting to show progress,” he said.

“Together with the engineers, with Charles [Leclerc] and Fred [Vasseur], and the fact that we’re performing better as a team, it’s given me a car that I trust more, and all this feedback from the last few years is put together and delivering this makes me feel very happy about this year.

“And a bit sad about the fact that we cannot continue the journey together because I feel like, in a way, we were doing a good job together, and everything was taking its correct shape into the future and the revolution change of ’26.

“But that’s life. That’s how life has decided to go. It was not my decision and not my first choice, but it might mean that there’s something even better to come in the future.

“So, in life, I think you always need to see things once things happen, and then look back, like when I left Toro Rosso and Renault at the time and now, when you look back, everything makes sense how life planned out.

“This is another case of, maybe, in the future to look back and see how it all played out.”

Carlos Sainz: It wasn’t a good weekend for Ferrari

Sainz was beaten by Leclerc for the first time this season in China, with the Spaniard coming home in fifth place behind the Monegasque in the Grand Prix after also being overtaken by Leclerc in the Sprint race.

Sainz was forced to run a very long stint on the hard tyre due to the timing of the Virtual Safety Car and the full Safety Car, and the Spaniard said nothing had quite clicked for the Scuderia on the return to China after a five-year absence from the calendar.

“It just hasn’t been a very good weekend for us as a team,” said Sainz.

“I think we were just not strong enough this weekend, P6 and P7 in qualy and, clearly, also lacking a bit in the race.

“Just a clear lack of pace compared to the McLaren of Norris, and in the end, P4 and P5 given how bad the start went for both cars, and how early I had to pit for the hards to then one-stop from there, P5 actually is a good result given the circumstances.”

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