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Carlos Sainz Makes Ferrari 2nd Priority as Frederic Vasseur & Co. “Not Going to Count On Him”

Published 02/24/2024, 12:01 PM EST

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Charles Leclerc has always been associated as the driver that thinks and bleeds Ferrari. Nonetheless, Carlos Sainz is no slouch either and has always dreamed about winning the championship wearing the Red. But alas, 2024 will be his last chance to do so as Ferrari signed Lewis Hamilton to replace him from 2025 onwards. Regardless, Sainz now makes Ferrari his second priority, as the team will no longer be counting on him. 

Midway through last season, everyone wondered why Ferrari hadn’t presented its drivers with new contracts, as the current ones were going to end come the start of 2025. Carlos Sainz even explained how he feels comfortable going into a new season only when he knows where his future lies for the following year. Frederic Vasseur explained how, unlike Mercedes, Ferrari was unable to present both its drivers with contracts mid-season due to the close championship war going on, and the focus being on development.

According to Marca, Carlos Sainz said, “Well, first I’d like to sort out my future to be clear about where I’m going to go, where I’m going to race, what’s coming next. And then, the rest of the year, for sure the approach changes a little bit, because it’s true that I already know that this year the only thing left for me is to focus on each race. Obviously, they’re not going to count on me much to develop the car and that allows me to focus solely and exclusively on getting the most out of the SF24 and myself, to give Ferrari and myself the best possible farewell.”

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USA Today via Reuters

When Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari contract was finally announced in January, many saw Sainz’s contract renewal on the way. But in a shocking turn of events, Sainz was let go to sign Lewis Hamilton from 2025. In recent interviews now, Carlos Sainz has come out to suggest how his Number 1 priority at the moment is to secure his future and find a seat for 2024. And then continued explaining how Frederic Vasseur wouldn’t count on him to develop the car, as Leclerc will be the main focus for that. 

Sainz said in one interview, “As much as I said I wanted to get my future sorted before the first race, now the scenario has changed quite a bit, as you can imagine… It is going to be probably a longer process ahead of me. Probably my most important three or four years of my career, where I want to make sure I’m in the right place at the right time. I want to make sure I pick the right next destination for me so I want to take my time to think about it, to listen to all the options, have a look at all the options.”

And it makes sense for Ferrari to take the development direction in what Leclerc suggests, as he will be the leading driver from next year onwards. Sainz also will not be part of certain meetings regarding the 2025 car or the new 2026 regulations, just like Hamilton wouldn’t be at Mercedes. Nonetheless, the Ferrari does look good and might be able to challenge Red Bull.

What have we learned about Ferrari from the pre-season testing?

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Carlos Sainz topped Day 2 at testing and teammate Charles Leclerc topped Day 3. Ferrari also seemed to be running some very complex aero rakes. Judging by the 1 Lap pace and the long runs, Ferrari seems to be the second-best car on the grid behind Red Bull. However, the biggest change from last season is the fact that the tire degradation on the Ferrari was day and night compared to last year, where the SF23 ate through the tires.

via Reuters

Frederic Vasseur talked about the pre-season test and said, “We come out of this test satisfied with the work done, both in terms of mileage traveled and the consequent amount of data collected, which from the point of view of the satisfaction of Charles and Carlos – were three productive and devoid of hitches days, which is what we want first of all from the tests, especially when it is the only one before the start of the season.”

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Written by:

Pranay Bhagi

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Pranay is an F1 Content Analyst and writer at EssentiallySports who effortlessly blends his technical knowledge and passion for F1 in his writing. He has a knack for unique content research and specializes in trend-setting articles. Pranay’s coverage of the departure of Guenther Steiner from Haas received appreciation from readers.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare