Carlos Sainz warned to ‘be careful’ in final Ferrari season against Charles Leclerc

Michelle Foster
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season.

Losing out as Ferrari snapped up Lewis Hamilton, Hans-Joachim Stuck has warned Carlos Sainz to “be careful” in his final team-mate battle with Charles Leclerc as he doesn’t want to do himself a “disservice”.

This year’s championship will be Sainz’s fourth and final year with Ferrari as the Spaniard was the big loser in Hamilton’s shock move to Ferrari.

Days after confirming they’d re-signed Leclerc to a new contract, Ferrari announced Hamilton, not Sainz, would be his 2025 team-mate.

Carlos Sainz warned against upsetting a potential Leclerc title tilt

The early announcement means Sainz and Hamilton will have to navigate a final season with their current teams, while for Sainz he’ll also have to look for a new job.

But while he may want to showcase his ability by snatching a win off of Leclerc, former F1 driver Stuck has warned him to adhere to any and all team orders in case he puts off potential employers.

“I think Sainz is a professional who behaves in his last year at Ferrari as expected of him,” the German told Eurosport.

“If he and Leclerc were fighting for victory and the team imposed an order for Leclerc to stay ahead due to the World Championship situation, I think Sainz would certainly stick to it.

“If he doesn’t do that, he would be doing himself a disservice for future negotiations. Then it is quickly said that he has no discipline.

“He has to be careful – but he will do that one hundred percent.”

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Even though Stuck has urged Sainz not to ignore Ferrari team orders, that doesn’t mean he cannot take on his team-mate and emerge as the lead Ferrari driver.

Although Sainz trails Leclerc two-one in their team-mate head-to-head, the 29-year-old has run Leclerc close and has claimed two Grand Prix wins in Ferrari colours.

Stuck reckons he won’t be without a 2025 race-seat for very long.

“Personally, I think it’s a shame that Sainz has to leave Ferrari because I think he’s a great driver,” he added.

“If a team gets someone like Sainz on board, they can count themselves lucky. Given his level, he has to be put on an equal footing with drivers like Leclerc. Therefore he will find his way.

“The only question is which racing team will have a place available for him.”

He’s looking forward to an exciting battle between the Ferrari team-mates.

“Sainz needs a nice calling card, which is why he will take on Leclerc again this season,” he said. “This is going to be exciting.”

Sainz has been linked to Hamilton’s Mercedes seat with Aston Martin, Williams and Audi also reportedly in the mix.

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