Scuderia Ferrari team members are having a torrid time in 2020 so far and at present are sat sixth in the Constructors' Championship. Despite this, Carlos Sainz is adamant that he is still very excited to move to the famous Italian manufacturer in 2021. Sainz has also revealed that fans making jokes about his move to Ferrari for 2021 "can laugh as much as they want" and that he finds their ideas "pretty funny" too.
Carlos Sainz has amassed 41 points in the 2020F1 season so far. Had the McLaren racer judged his entry speed better in Russia when negotiating the sequence of bollards after running wide at Turn 2 it is fair to say that his points tally would be even higher. Any onlooker of the sport can see very well that McLaren is a team in the ascendency. Unfortunately, what is also apparent is that Scuderia Ferrari is a team in crisis and due to 2021 regulations being similar to the current ones, the performance of their package is likely to be similar next year as well.
As such, many memes have been created showing Carlos Sainz second-guessing his decision to leave the Woking based manufacturer at the end of 2020. Sainz though, when speaking to motorsport.com, made clear he has no regrets over his decision and gets light relief from the online content he sees:
"Honestly, they can laugh as much as they want...I think they are actually pretty funny, some of [the jokes]. People have a lot of free time and they come up with these very funny ideas. And I actually laugh also. When the jokes are about me or the jokes are about the drivers, I'm the first one to laugh and I actually enjoy them. It doesn't mean that they are right or wrong, it's just they're funny. I guess that's what they pretend to be, so good on them."
Although the SF1000 is proving to be a figurative prancing horse still needing to be broken in, there is no escaping the fact that Charles Leclerc has handled the task with greater conviction than his teammate Sebastian Vettel.
In the Drivers' standings the 4-time F1 World Champion driver has 17 points from the opening 10 Grand Prix of the season. In comparison, Sebastian Vettel's teammate, Charles Leclerc, has 57 points and within this tally of points are two podiums from the season so far.
Despite such dominance being shown by the Monegasque racer over his teammate, Sainz feels no fear in moving to Ferrari and partnering the two-time grand prix winner but first he has work to do with McLaren – so much so that he is yet to find a place to live in Italy:
"My team mainly, more than me, is trying to find a place," Sainz said. "As you know I'm still focused on my season this year...But as soon as the season is over and I'm thinking to next year, I will move to Italy when I find it convenient."
Carlos Sainz is not the only one sticking with his Scuderia Ferrari decision as Haas boss Gunther Steiner thinks it would be unethical for his team to turn its back on Ferrari and switch engine partners just because it is having a difficult year. The much-loved team boss also spoke to motorsport.com saying:
"I'm a believer in loyalty, as is Gene [Haas, team owner] as well," explained Steiner. "They [Ferrari] were instrumental to get us here, and they did a good job in doing that...Now they are a little bit in a difficulty, as we obviously know, but I think it will be hopefully a short-term difficulty, and they will get out of it."
With more and more upgrades coming to their SF1000 package this season, Scuderia Ferrari have already seen improvements in their performance last time out in Russia. During this Grand Prix, their revised rear-wing endplate and changes made to the under-nose cape and bargeboards paid dividends as Charles Leclerc claimed 6th position at the chequered flag.
Obviously, better results are expected from this great team but with both cars making more appearances in the latter stages of qualifying, the signs are promising. Also, Ferrari is planning to bring more new parts for the Eifel Grand Prix on October 9-11 so we shall wait and see the impact this has.
However, Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto is not convinced the upgrades in Russia were the reason for Charles Leclerc's haul of 8 points having told f1.com:
"I don't think it's down to the upgrades... that's not the reason," said Binotto when asked what had contributed to the improved performance. "It's track characteristics, so let's hope that we've found again some competitiveness that gives the opportunity for the two drivers to compete for a better position in the future."
So, a more pragmatic response from the man in charge hoping to steer Scuderia Ferrari back on course but a strong voice of confidence in the team from their new man Carlos Sainz is reason to be hopeful indeed.
At the end of the day, whether racing at the back of the grid, the middle of the field or challenging for podiums at the front – starting in the 2021 Formula One season, Carlos Sainz will be a racing driver for Scuderia Ferrari. In the history books the Spanish driver will be on an elite list with legendary names such as Michael Schumacher, Niki Lauda and Juan Manuel Fangio to name but a few.
Carlos Sainz is very happy to be the punchline for now but in a team as mighty as the Italian giants it could well be the Spaniard who has the final laugh.