Carlos Sainz warns Max Verstappen

Carlos Sainz's current Ferrari contract will expire at the end of 2024, and talks with the team for a new deal haven't commenced.

Carlos Sainz believes Ferrari are capable of beating Red Bull “from time to time”, with the Spaniard noting that only the Italians have been able to “stand up” to the dominance being enjoyed by the Austrians.

Red Bull and Max Verstappen have already wrapped up both championships for the season with five races still remaining, highlighting how superior the duo have been.

Verstappen alone has won 14 of the 17 completed races in 2023, putting him just one victory away from matching his 2022 record for most wins in a single season.

The Milton Keynes-based team have only lost once this season due to an unexpected poor performance, something which has been a rarity.

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It was Sainz and Ferrari who made the most of Red Bull’s struggles at the Singapore Grand Prix, to claim a famous win.

Singapore is the only venue this year where Red Bull have looked vulnerable, presenting an opportunity to the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.

All three teams battled for the win in Singapore but it was a superb drive by Sainz which ended Red Bull’s winning streak which at the time dated back to the 2022 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Whilst this year’s titles have been claimed, Sainz is hopeful that Ferrari can take the fight to Red Bull more often in 2024, having shown significant recent progress.

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“I am always optimistic before the season starts,” Sainz told Spanish press at a sponsors event ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix.

“I was also optimistic last year and we stumbled. You have to be. I think that if you look at the last two years, the only ones who have been able to stand up to Red Bull a little have been the Ferrari, in the first half of last year and now with the victory in Singapore and the podium in Monza.

“Since there are these new regulations Red Bull is unbeatable, but if there is someone who can win from time to time to Red Bull, it’s us.

“I think I’m in the best place to try again next year but there are still six races left and we still have to focus on what we can improve to arrive prepared.”

Sainz’s positive recent form actually ended in Qatar last weekend, as a fuel leak before the race meant he didn’t even make it to the grid.

It was a disappointing moment for the team and for the 29-year-old, who is high on confidence currently.

Despite the setback, Sainz is certain that Ferrari have learnt from their mistakes this season and now know what they need to fix for 2024, to get them into a position where they can fight for regular victories.

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“We know exactly what we are missing,” Sainz added.

“We have been able to understand and identify it. Another thing is the reaction capacity we have to put everything in the car from race one next year.

“I think that if there is someone capable of doing it [challenging Red Bull], that is Ferrari. Especially if we have clear objectives and know which direction to go in, if there is any team that has the capacity to react, as has been seen in the past, that is Ferrari.

“Time will tell,” he concluded.