Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has said he would like to wrap up negotiations on a new deal with the team sooner rather than later as he seeks to extend his current deal that takes him to the end of 2022.
Sainz joined the Scuderia from McLaren ahead of the 2021 season, and scored four podiums en route to a mightily impressive fifth-placed Drivers’ Championship finish.
He out-scored team-mate Charles Leclerc despite being out-qualified 13-9 by the Monegasque, and as such possibilities of a brand-new contract for the 27-year-old have been openly discussed.
Formula 1’s technical regulations have undergone exponential changes ahead of this year, with ground effect-led aerodynamic changes coming into force, as well as bigger tyres.
This is all in a bid to make overtaking easier and, while McLaren’s Lando Norris expects the cars to be more erratic, Sainz reckons that the 2022 machine will be easier to handle than last year’s challenger.
“Up until last year we drove the best cars in F1 history, well balanced but unforgiving. If you lost control for an instant, you would crash,” he told Corriere dela Sera.
“This Ferrari seems even more reactive to me, the suspensions are more rigid, we will have to get used to managing it.”
The six-time podium finisher sees the value in a car that handles nicely, adding that this naturally leads to better performance as a whole.
“If it is easy to drive, everything comes faster, the lap times come almost on their own,” he explained.
Regarding the relative performance of Ferrari’s new machine, Sainz predicts that this will not be obvious until the first race in Bahrain due to the unprecedented changes to the cars.
“Then you have to compare the data with those of others. I don’t think the first test in Barcelona will be enough, but in Bahrain we will have some definitive information,” he added.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said at the end of last year that he is looking to sit down with his driver to sign him onto a longer contract, and the former McLaren driver is looking to seal a new deal soon.
“As [Mattia] Binotto said, we are both satisfied, we intend to continue together and this winter is an opportunity to find an agreement. We are trying,” he stated.
“Becoming a world champion with Ferrari is my highest ambition. I would like to renew as soon as possible.”
Ferrari ended the Constructors’ Championship third last year, beating McLaren in the last race of the 2021 season.