Charles Leclerc drops major reveal on departing Carlos Sainz’s F1 future

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc on the Australia podium.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have enjoyed a productive partnership together as Ferrari team-mates.

Charles Leclerc expressed his belief that “many team principals” are “for sure” speaking to Carlos Sainz about a 2025 drive, after his win in Australia on Sunday.

Sainz said himself that he is “jobless” as it stands after his contract was not renewed by Ferrari, making way for Lewis Hamilton next season, but with a host of seats uncontracted beyond the end of the year, he has opportunities to move elsewhere.

Charles Leclerc: ‘Many team principals’ are ‘for sure’ speaking to Carlos Sainz

Sainz’s recovery from an appendectomy just a fortnight ago to stand on the top step at Albert Park represented a remarkable comeback, not least because the Spanish driver admitted he had spent over a week resting in bed and unable to keep up the fitness regime required for a Formula 1 driver.

He looked unfazed throughout the Australian Grand Prix and after taking the lead from Max Verstappen, he did not relinquish it – standing on the top step of the podium for his third career victory.

He is the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race since mid-2022, and given he is currently without a seat for next season, his future could become one of the most-discussed topics of the year moving forward.

When asked if Sainz is ‘under-rated’ in the world of Formula 1, his current and former team-mate both denied that was the case – and Leclerc believes his phone has been busy of late.

“I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth in the paddock,” Leclerc said.

“He’s one of the highest-rated drivers in the paddock, and he’s been extremely strong every time he was in a Formula 1 car, and he has shown it multiple times. So I don’t think he’s underrated for that.

“I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth, and that’s why I’ve said many times that I’m not too worried about his future, because I’m sure that many, many team principals are… He doesn’t say it, but for sure they are speaking with him!

“And I’m sure he will have many opportunities and he’ll just have to make the best choice for his career.”

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Lando Norris, sat alongside the Ferrari drivers in the post-race press conference, added: “I think Charles put it well, to be honest. There’s no reason anyone should think he’s underrated.

“I think for the people who know him, know what he’s capable of doing, know his effort level, his approach and dedication to wanting to be one of the best, exactly like he’s proved today, and over the last couple of weeks.

“I’m sure you have plenty of drivers who probably wouldn’t have tried as hard and dedicated so much of their time and effort to trying to recover and get back in the race car, and I think that’s just one example of it.

“But for the people who know what he’s capable of doing, you would never ever say he’s underrated. Of course, results are always a bit of a point to show and people on the outside just easily judge things from what you see on TV. But when you’ve worked with him, when you know what he’s capable of doing, and when things click, they click very well and he has performances like he does this weekend.

“And I would say all year, he’s proved to be a step up from maybe what he has been last year. Yeah, you’re silly if you underrate him.”

Sainz himself smiled when sat with the duo, and when asked to weigh in himself added: “I don’t know what to say. I guess I agree here with my two favourite team-mates!

“There are some kind words there, but I agree with them. I think people that know me or have shared a team with me or people that have worked with me, know me and I don’t feel underrated by people that know about this sport.

“Then other people that maybe don’t have an insight and don’t know as much about this sport, if they want to underrate me, I’m fine with that.

“I don’t care honestly, but I care about the people that know the sport well and about my team-mates, the people that have seen my data, seen how I work, seen my speed, and that’s the thing I care about, and I don’t feel underrated by them.”

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