Carlos Sainz will enter the final year of his Ferrari contract in 2024; the Spaniard’s impressive run of recent form culminated in victory at the Singapore GP in September; watch the United States Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 from October 20-22
Last Updated: 13/10/23 6:31pm
Carlos Sainz says there “was never a doubt” that his relationship with Ferrari was working well, as he reiterated his desire to seal a contract extension with the Italian team.
Both Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc are contracted until the end of 2024, but the Spaniard has been vocal about not wanting to go into next season without his medium-to-long term future being resolved.
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has said throughout the team’s underwhelming 2023 campaign that the focus has been on improving the car, and contract talks could wait until the season was over.
Sainz has perhaps strengthened his negotiating position with a strong run of form, punctuated by victory at the Singapore Grand Prix in September, which makes him the only non-Red Bull driver to have won a race this season.
Asked whether the victory reinforced confidence that things were working out for driver and team, Sainz said: “For me that was never a doubt.
“I think there’s never been a doubt that I’m very comfortable at Ferrari, that I want to be here for the medium to long term.
“Also, the fact that there was always high confidence between each party. For me, the wins and podiums, the only thing they do is reassure everything that we already knew.
“I hope that the winter is a good opportunity to find an agreement and continue working in the future because it’s the place that I love driving for, and see myself driving and trying to help a world championship soon.”
Vasseur: Sainz took another step
Leclerc has long been seen as the driver most likely to end Ferrari’s championship drought, but Sainz regularly outperforming the Monegasque in recent months has undoubtedly made the pecking order less clear heading into a 2024 season when the Italian squad will hope to challenge Red Bull.
Vasseur is impressed by Sainz’s development, and said the challenging nature of the 29-year-old’s victory in Singapore showed he had taken “another step”.
“When I was saying that (the win) was important for the self-confidence, I was also thinking about Carlos,” Vasseur said.
“It’s not just a winner, it’s a popular win for me with the pole position, with good strategy and the last 10 laps he was able to stay calm, to stay cool, to manage the situation.
“He knew that he had interest to keep Lando into the DRS zone and he did it very well. I think for him, for sure, it’s a step forward.
“To win is one thing, but to win with the pole position and this kind of race, it’s another step.”
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