Sainz digs in at Maranello as preparations ramp up


Carlos Sainz says he is now in the thick of his preparations for the 2021 F1 season with new team Ferrari, undergoing meetings with his engineers ahead of starting simulator work with the Scuderia.

As he digs in at Maranello, Sainz will also enjoy a track test at the wheel of an old-spec car in the coming weeks to help him get acquainted with his team and its processes.

But on Thursday, the former McLaren charger kicked off his day with over six hours of meetings and briefings.

"Iโ€™m finally here, finally starting to work properly with all the engineers and all the people here," Sainz said.

"Iโ€™m obviously meeting a lot of new faces, a lot of new names that are going to be tough to learn but Iโ€™m getting there.

"Yesterday I had six hours and a half of meetings, which obviously was encouraging to see everyone working flat out for this year.

"Today for the first time, I am jumping in the simulator. So I will get to try for the first time the car, the simulator and start getting a bit of feedback and working hard for this season."

Sainz will logically require a period of adaptation with his new team, but the 26-year-old will be facing a formidable competitor at Ferrari in the person of Charles Leclerc.

While the Monegasque is expected to have the upper hand against his new teammate, Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto insists his drivers will be on equal footing at the outset this season.

But as usual, Binotto made clear that the pair will be managed according to the team's interests.

"There is nothing written in the contract of Charles being the [team] leader," said Binotto. "The two will be free to fight on track.

"It's important that they are not damaging themselves, that is clear, but I think that they will have equal opportunity, certainly at the start of the season.

"Our top priority, as I said in the past and will remain, is to optimise the team's points. So it may be that in some races, it will be important that the two are somehow helping team decisions or accepting team decisions in order to optimise what is the team's interest.

"And by doing the team interest I think we are prevailing and we are helping the drivers' interest as well.

"Later in the season, if there will be a clear advantage of one driver to the other and that one of the two drivers may achieve an objective which is not possible for the other, I think it will be an open discussion between the two.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter