Driver Predictions: Why Ferrari’s move for Sainz could be critical for their future 

Written by Danny Jones, Edited by Morgan Holiday

Ferrari seems to be developing a similar philosophy to Red Bull, where the team is built around an individual driver – in this case, Charles Leclerc – in an attempt to mould them into a complete driver and to lead the team to championship glory. Leclerc has signed a contract till 2024 and is changing Ferrari’s fortunes in their attempt to recover from their disastrous 2020 campaign, with unlikely poles in Monaco and Azerbaijan, albeit with an engine failure on the reconnaissance lap causing him, agonisingly not to start his home race.

Charles Leclerc having achieved Pole Position in Monaco

Ferrari believes Leclerc is the man to lead them to championships, ever since his wonders in F2 in 2017, and as he continues to flourish as a driver it is impossible to see Leclerc anywhere other than Ferrari for the next few seasons. The Monegasque is clearly one of the most talented drivers in the sport and Ferrari’s clear future, particularly after Sebastian Vettel’s removal from the team at the beginning of 2020. 

Following Vettel’s messy departure, Ferrari snatched Carlos Sainz from McLaren, a driver who has quickly developed over the previous few seasons and starting to establish himself as one of the best drivers in F1. Sainz seems a logical appointment for both driver and team, bringing experience despite being only 26. He has performed on a similar level as Leclerc so far in 2021 and has been regarded as the most comfortable driver switch of 2021, alongside Sergio Perez. Sainz has the ability to be able to support a championship push if they have a car able to do so. 

Carlos Sainz enjoying his podium finish in Monaco

Mattia Binotto has expressed their interest in putting Mick Schumacher in the car for 2023. It was an interesting claim by Binotto – especially considering the fact Schumacher hadn’t driven in an F1 race when Binotto made this statement. However, Schumacher would need more experience in the Haas, and it would be impossible to see him in the Ferrari in 2022. Additionally, Schumacher would need more experience higher up the grid, if he were to join the prancing horse, especially if Ferrari want a serious shot at championships from 2022 onwards.

Mick Schumacher and Charles Leclerc at a charity football event

Binotto’s claims suggest that Sainz would be pushed out in 2023, so it is vital that Sainz can continue pushing, and possibly even beat Leclerc on a regular basis. If not he could be very much at risk of losing his seat to Schumacher, assuming he develops to the extent that Ferrari expects him to. But both Leclerc and Sainz are contracted for 2022, and if Ferrari wants to help aid the recovery, it would be unwise to boot either of them off before then. Both drivers are immensely quick, and so far in 202, both have been impressive, and are starting to recover from 2020. Should Ferrari challenge for the title in 2022, you wouldn’t bet against a Sainz-Leclerc pairing.

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