Ferrari ‘Listened to All Radio Messages’ from Sainz Before Offering F1 Deal, Reveals Binotto

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January 11, 2021 5:50 pm

Carlos Sainz was one of the many drivers who made a mark in the 2019 season. The Spaniard clinched his first podium in F1 at Interlagos with McLaren. So, when Ferrari was finding a replacement for Sebastian Vettel, they knew where to look.

Before the 2020 F1 season even began, they handed him a two-year contract starting from 2021. Further proving how they did not take a wrong step with this deal, Sainz had an even better season this time around, which culminated in a near-win at Monza.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. after qualifying in eighth position Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

However, his performances on track were not the only barometer that Ferrari was using to judge him. According to Team Principal Mattia Binotto, they also focussed on the interaction he had over the radio with his engineer while driving to gain more information.

“We listened to all radio messages to find out how he communicated with the team before we made him an offer. He was telling all this about his approach,” said Binotto.

Ferrari paid attention to Carlos Sainz’s consistency before hiring him

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 6, 2020 Second placed McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrates on the podium REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/Pool

The Red Bull academy graduate is a points machine who regularly finishes in the top-10. For a team whose target is to win the Constructor’s Championship again, that is a valuable asset. Binotto believes Sainz will contribute immensely in that department.

“Our priority is the teams championship. And for this you have to earn maximum points in each race and Carlos is very consistent.

“It was the first thing we paid attention to. He is one of the drivers who consistently has excellent speed, knows how to attack and defend. He also manages to see the finish constantly. Carlos will help us achieve high results in the teams championship.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari talks with Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto in the garage. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

This move is very similar to Red Bull’s hiring of Sergio Perez. It feels like an interim solution before one of their young guns come of age and makes the step with the senior team. If Tsunoda is the one at Red Bull, Mick Schumacher is being readied to follow his natural path with Prancing Horse.

Whatever it will be, it is a decent stopgap fix – a solid driver who will play second-fiddle to Charles Leclerc. Maybe the decision to let go of Sebastian Vettel wasn’t so bad after all.

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