After his successful first season with the Scuderia in 2021, where he overtook teammate Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ standings and scored four podium finishes, a swift extension of his initial two-year contract with the Italian outfit was expected.
Team boss Mattia Binotto said at the end of the 2021 campaign that talks between the two sides would start over the winter break, with Carlos Sainz confirming he was “in the middle of the discussion” on the F1-car launch. Ferrari 75.
He then added that things were “extremely close, almost topped off” after Bahrain’s season opener, where he helped the team to a 1-2 win, with Leclerc winning.
At the same time, Binotto said that “we reached an agreement, it’s just a matter of putting it on paper”, but information that came out of Germany last week suggested that the two sides were having trouble agreeing on the exact nature of the two-year Sainz extension. wanted, if it would be a direct agreement for that duration or if the team would have the option to confirm that they definitely wanted the Spaniard for 2024.
Speaking after Ferrari announced that Sainz would be part of its line-up alongside Leclerc until the end of that campaign ahead of this weekend’s race at Imola, Sainz dismissed the rumours.
“You can imagine how much I laughed at home,” he initially joked, “when people started writing these things!”
“Because I had almost everything done and we were waiting for Imola to come to announce it. Fun times, as always in Formula 1, with the rumors and all that.”
Sainz added that agreeing his new contract with Ferrari was “very easy”.
“It’s been easy going,” he continued. “I guess, after such a great first year we had.”
“Coming to an agreement over the winter was quite easy for both parties and now to have the opportunity to announce it in a place like Imola, in front of the tifosi, on a weekend like this, was ideal.”
“So we put together a good plan for the announcement to be here.”
Asked by Motorsport.com how important the length of his last F1 contract would be in order to avoid destabilizing his performance behind the wheel, he replied: “It’s key.”
“Lately it’s no secret that not only me, I think you’ve also heard other drivers say that it’s important on the part of the driver to have a completely focused mind on performance, on racing, and not have to focus too much on what the driver is doing. what the future holds.”
“And for me, I have been, ever since I discovered [it] when I drove for McLaren, I’ve been very open about [the stability of the contract].”
“And yeah, honestly, I’ve been pretty sure all winter that we were going to secure this, so it’s not like I was worried in the first three races [of 2022]. But it always gives you that extra push.