Sainz is the newest driver on the grid that can call himself a Scuderia Ferrari member, having joined the team with the beginning of the 2021 season. Originally driving for junior Red Bull team Toro Rosso, he then joined Renault, moved to McLaren and finally now got his spot at Ferrari. Having his first F1 entry in 2015, you’d think after six years in F1 and a few different teams, there will be nothing unusual about it, but it seems like that might not be the case.
In a recent interview with motorsport.com, Carlos spoke about some perks of his life at Ferrari, starting from signing his contract in his pyjamas, Italian fans and Italian media.
He described the situation around his Ferrari contract signing, by saying: "It's actually a bit of a funny story because it had been a long negotiation period. It was during COVID [lockdown], so talks were all done on Zoom and phone calls, which made everything a bit more tricky.
"We had to adapt to the situation and I signed it on the exact same table that I'm doing this interview now here in Madrid, in the little office that we have in the house.
"We had been spending all the lockdown together with the family, and then suddenly one day I wake up around 8am, and I'm still in my pyjamas.
"I come into this room, and I see that my dad is ready with a pen. He says: 'You need to sign here: it is the Ferrari contract. And it's done if you sign.’
"So I signed it in my pyjamas at 8am, just after waking up! I was like 'Okay, good morning to you too’."
It is no secret to anybody who knows the sport even a little bit that Ferrari, especially in its birthplace of Italy, is treated like religion. That does not only mean extremely devoted fans, but also a very particular media environment surrounding the team and its drivers. Sainz admitted that having been put in that situation right now has been definitely an eye-opening experience for him.
As he said about the Italian fans: "It is true that the fans in Italy are super passionate, and super respectful in a way that I didn't expect. I mean even touching you, or shaking your hand, for them it is something super special. They really respect you, and they really have you on a pedestal for some reason, and it's quite impactful.
"They get super nervous when you're near them, and this is a feeling that I've never had before as a driver: just how nervous people become when you're close to them.
"I tap them on the back and say, 'come on, I'm a 27 year old, like you, just relax and take the pictures'. But I often take the phone from them to take it myself.
"It is crazy and I love it. They are also super funny with the things that they say, so life has changed a bit, but at the same time I've managed to keep a good balance.
As he said in regards to the Italian media coverage: "It is an interesting thing about how little 'news' can become huge 'news' just because you are Ferrari, or part of Ferrari. In Italy, this happens a lot and it's something that I'm still learning how to handle.
"I'm still learning to know how to speak in some ways, to realise that maybe if I say things this way instead of saying it the other way, it can become a huge headline or not.
"As a driver, I'm in the process of trying to educate myself how to handle these kind of situations because it's not easy at all.”
After all, Sainz is one of the few lucky ones that can call himself a Scuderia Ferrari driver. Because of the status and responsibility, it is quite an unusual feeling. Yet for Sainz, who remains down to earth, it comes down to balance between said responsibility and still being himself. As he explained: "It does feel real, when you finally realise it, and you just live with it. It’s a strange situation because one day you wake up saying: 'Okay I'm going to be a Ferrari driver.’
"So how does it feel? It's still the same Carlos. It is still the same guy. It is still the same driver, with the same passion, with the same talent, doing the job.
"It's just that you are doing it for Ferrari. That is such a huge responsibility, and especially when you drive in Italy. This is the biggest thing.
"When you go to Monza, then you suddenly realise what it is to be a Ferrari driver. You feel it all around the world.
”But when you go to Monza and when they opened up a bit there in Monza and the few events that we had there, then you suddenly realise, 'okay this is huge!’
"This is even bigger than what I imagine. But you're still the same Carlos, and nothing changes in that sense."