Formula 1 – Sainz closes in on Ferrari extension

Sainz close to signing new Ferrari contract

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has enjoyed a strong start to the 2022 season, his second place at the opening Bahrain Grand Prix equalling his best finish achieved in 2020 at Monza. 

This is on the back of a successful and consistent 2021 season, finishing both ahead of his teammate, and as best of the rest behind the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers.

Sainz’s contract with Ferrari runs out at the end of this season, and given his strong performances, it is no surprise that negotiations to extend his stay have been going on for some time.

Ferrari and Sainz look to be close to agreeing an extension, publicly indicating this week that a deal to keep the Spaniard at the legendary Italian team beyond this season is within reach.  When asked about the possibility of an extension, Sainz said: “I think we are close. Very close. Very, very close. Very close. Extremely close. Nearly there”. 

Team Principal Mattia Binotto echoed his driver’s optimism when asked about Sainz continuing for the team:  “I think we found an agreement. It’s only a matter to translate it into paper” he said. 

However, the Spaniard is not yet comfortable with his F1-75, calling the Bahrain weekend his ‘most difficult’ for Ferrari’. Sainz arrives in Jeddah 8 points behind his teammate Charles Leclerc, looking for an improvement on his Bahrain result after Leclerc outpaced him across the weekend. 

Sainz has said he is aware of the work needed ‘understand’ the car more in order to extract more pace, and plans to look at how his teammate is approaching the F1-75 : “As a Ferrari driver it’s been my most difficult weekend and it just shows that I need to put my head down, understand this car, understand where Charles is making the difference with his driving and the way that he’s approaching the corners and driving the tyres, also in the race.

Sainz is hopeful that the improvement will come race by race, indicating his target is to eliminate the gap between himself and Leclerc, the work starting at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix:  “I need to improve if I want to fight for a win and I will put my head down and try to do some steps coming into Jeddah.

Can I improve it from one weekend to another? I think I can improve it. Can I cut down the deficit completely? It’s a very good question. I wish I can and I will be working hard for it.”