Carlos Sainz announces deadline for decision on Ferrari future

Carlos Sainz leads Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc by 15 points in the Formula 1 drivers' championship.

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Carlos Sainz has revealed when he’ll decide his long-term plans in Formula 1 beyond the end of his current Ferrari contract, which concludes after the 2024 season.

Sainz is currently enjoying the best year of his career, becoming the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in 2023 at the Singapore Grand Prix and sat 15 points ahead of his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ championship.

And Sainz promised to come a decision on his future over the winter break ahead of 2024, when he should be in a strong negotiating position following that stellar 2023.

“My future will be decided in the winter, but everyone knows my priority,” Sainz told the media. “We haven’t sat down because there is no time during the season, not that we don’t want to sit down.

“We are on the road all day long, from race to race. Right now our priority is to finish as well as possible and always put Ferrari first.”

Sainz is on track to beat Leclerc for the second time in three years as teammates, but in a much more convincing manner than his previous 5.5-point team battle victory in 2021.

The Spaniard has only finished outside of the top six four times in 2023, and though he’s achieved less podiums than Leclerc, that Singapore win will be the moment Ferrari‘s season is remembered by.

“Why sit down now to evaluate a contract if in winter we have four months to evaluate it?” Sainz said. “If you are in a good moment of your career it is easier to negotiate, but I don’t see that the prospects have changed between us because of the last races, we know our mutual potential.”

Sainz: I feel valued at Ferrari

Carlos Sainz celebrates winning the 2023 Singapore GP

Sainz‘s answer certainly implies he sees himself staying at Ferrari, as his current contract will expire after four seasons at Maranello, despite reports of talks between his representatives and the incoming Audi team.

He joined the Scuderia after a career renaissance at McLaren, where he beat then newcomer Lando Norris twice in a row.

Sainz arrived in Woking having been ditched by Toro Rosso and Renault successively, but his papaya turnaround meant Ferrari came calling when Sebastian Vettel moved on after 2020.

There was a sense entering 2023 that Leclerc had dominated the intra-team battle more than results suggested, but Sainz re-iterated he doesn’t feel undervalued at the team.

“I feel valued, honestly,” Sainz added. “I don’t know why you say that in the press. I’m at Ferrari, so if I’m at the best team in history, it will be because someone has valued me.

“The people I care about, the people who are in F1, the other drivers, I think they value me the way they have to value me.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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