85 F
New York
Thursday, July 18, 2024

F1: Carlos Sainz Continues to Look for a Seat

BusinessF1: Carlos Sainz Continues to Look for a Seat

The Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is about to lose his job. He has won three of the team’s last four race victories since 2022, but that was not enough to keep his seat next season because Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes will be moving in.

As 2023 ended, Sainz and his teammate, Charles Leclerc, were poised to sign new deals with the team. Leclerc signed in late January, but in early February Ferrari revealed that it would be poaching Hamilton from Mercedes, with which he has won six of his seven championships. Sainz would be out after four years with the team.

“That it was a bit of a surprise to the whole F1 world is no news,” he said a few weeks later. “It was obviously also for me. I’m going to start the season as strong as I can, putting all my effort into being quick, straight from the go.”

Frédéric Vasseur, the Ferrari team principal, said that telling Sainz he would be dropped was “one of the most difficult” phone calls he’d ever made.

Sainz performed well for Ferrari, but it was Leclerc who finished as runner-up to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in 2022 (Sainz finished fifth), the most recent year the Italian team challenged for the championship. Leclerc, who is a product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, has also forged a reputation as one of the fastest drivers in Formula 1. His tally of pole positions, from where drivers start races in first place, stands at 23 to Sainz’s five. Then there was the prestige for Ferrari in signing a driver as successful as Hamilton.

Sainz, however, did exactly as he’d vowed. He started the season with a third-place finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix behind the dominant Red Bull drivers. But then right before the next race in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, he needed urgent appendicitis surgery and missed the event.

Yet just two weeks later, Sainz returned to his Ferrari cockpit in Australia. After “a lot of time in bed recovering,” and using a hyperbaric chamber twice a day and an INDIBA machine to try and increase his healing, Sainz could not only drive again, but he won that race.

“Life is a roller coaster sometimes, but it can be really nice and good to you,” Sainz said after winning.

He finished third again to the Red Bulls the next time out in Japan and is close to Leclerc’s points total despite having missed a race.

“I think he’s been doing an amazing job, this year particularly,” Hamilton said of Sainz before the Miami race in early May.

Sainz returned to full fitness the week before the Miami event. While cycling in the mountains around Monaco, he finally registered performance “numbers that came out as good as they were before Jeddah.” Sainz can now focus his efforts on finding a new team for 2025.

Sainz has many options because some drivers at other teams have contracts ending this year. This includes Audi, which is taking over what is currently Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber. Audi is where his father, Carlos Sainz Sr., a world-champion rally driver, has competed in the Dakar Rally since 2022, winning in 2024.

“Everybody knows that there is a top driver that is available in the market: It’s Carlos Sainz,” Alessandro Alunni Bravi, a Stake representative, said at the Miami race this month when discussing his team’s list of possible drivers to fill its remaining 2025 seat.

But, as Audi will be an unproven newcomer, Sainz could prefer to join one of the two established top teams with free seats next year: Red Bull or Mercedes, as Hamilton’s replacement.

These teams are waiting to see if their preferred options — the incumbent driver Sergio Pérez at Red Bull and the highly rated junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli for Mercedes — live up to expectations. But Sainz is content to wait for “people to make up their minds in many areas.”

“The only assurance that I have is from myself, that I want to take the right decision,” he said. “That’s why it’s also taking a bit longer, and that’s why I want to see all the options available.”

Source link

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles