Sainz in talks with another team about F1 future

At the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix Ferrari Ince again did their Ferrari thing, which was to again confound F1 observers. Carlos Sainz had made final qualifying in the last 33 consecutive races yet failed at the Hungaroring by just 0.003 seconds.

Starting from 10th the Spaniard made good progress and caught his team mate quickly because he was on the quicker soft tyre. Yet mysteriously Ferrari did not tell Leclerc to allow Sainz through because he was on a different strategy but instead wasted several laps where Carlos could have chased down the competitors ahead of the Ferrari pair.



Ferrari woeful stop for Leclerc

At the first round of pitstops Ferrari called in Leclerc first but their woeful efforts saw the car stationary for over 9 seconds. Sainz then inherited Leclerc’s position who immediately immediately questioned the team’s strategy.

Not for the first time over the past two seasons was Leclerc clearly irritated over pit radio and requested the team “offset in terms of strategy”, which meant he wanted Ferrari to fix it so he was once again ahead of Sainz.

His engineer Padros responded to Leclerc: “We are discussing it at the end.” which merely annoyed Leclerc who retorted, “what do you mean at the end?” before Padros eventually responded, “We are on it.”

Radio silence then ensued.



Vasseur blames ‘dodgy’ kit

Team boss Fred Vasseur has sought to explain the reason for the tetchy exchange between Ferrari and Leclerc claiming it was due in part to a faulty radio. Whilst the Ferrari engineered SF-23 has had a number of dodgy manufacturing issues, this one not seen before

“We were not able to understand what he said because he had an issue with the microphone,” Vasseur claims. 

“I don’t know if you aware but I don’t think that you were, we were unable to understand perfectly.

The team principal; then sought to excuse the apparent heated exchanges and claimed Leclerc was in fact perfectly sanguine.

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Driver error into the mix

“He was not emotional but he was worried about the pace,” added Vasseur.

Leclerc then was caught speeding when coming in for his second pit stop which saw race control punish him with a mandatory 5 second penalty. This was added to the Monegasque’s time at the chequered flag meaning he was relegated down a spot behind George Russell to P7.

Fred Vasseur inherited the job from the sacked Mattia Binotto who was roundly criticised for a literary of track side errors made by Ferrari together with a number of mechanical failures costing the team race wins.

While his media presence at the race weekends has been ‘under the radar’ outside of Italy, when interviewed he does not have the confident air of a man getting to grip with Ferrari’s problems.

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Ferrari now a distant 4th

Vasseur did admit he would analysis the difficult weekend Ferrari suffered in Hungary where they were a distant fourth best behind Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes.

His immediate reaction was to apportion some blame to the alternative tyre format the FIA ran which saw the teams restricted to 11 sets of tyres for the weekend rather than the usual 13.

“First we will need time to understand what we did right and wrong because the format was different and it’s not so easy to analyse the perfect weekend and you need to get all the results to be able to do a reliable engineering on this,” said the ex-Sauber boss.

“But I think on our side it’s much more the fact that we made too many mistakes from the beginning to the end. It’s not just about the pit stop or the pit entry or the Qualy yesterday or the management of the tyres, at the end the potential was probably better than what we showed yesterday, and then, at least with Charles, we lost 20 seconds on the race.”



Questionable if Vasseur can fix it

The Ferrari drivers when interviewed after each race do not give the impression that the team is “on it” with a common goal all pulling in the same direction.

Yet when questioned about how Ferrari were going to move forward, Vasseur reverted to a stock answer which reveals very little.

“I spent the last 35 years of my life on the pit wall and every single Monday of my career we go through a list of mistakes,” he said. “The job of the team principal is to do the list with the team members and to fix it.”

Sainz appeared supportive of the Ferrari decision to give Leclerc a strategy which favoured him to the detriment of Carlos race.

Breaking news to please Max further



Sainz excuses team ‘favouritism’

“I suppose it was to compensate for his bad stop,” said the Spaniard.

He attempted to defuse the opinion that Ferrari have an internal 1-2 pecking order which has been suggested by a number of F1 commentators following recent decisions.

“I believe people are seeing it as a conspiracy, but it’s not the case. He had a slow stop, and they wanted to make up for it.”

While Leclerc is regularly at odds with his team, Sainz in recent weeks appears to be at ease with the situation ever since he gave Ferrari a deadline of ‘this winter’ to extend his contract which ends at the end of 2024.

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Carlos deadline for Ferrari contract

“I’m not going to lie, I don’t like going into my last year of a contract without really knowing where I’m racing the next year,” he said. 

“I went through that process both with Red Bull and Renault, and I know it’s not ideal as an athlete, and as a driver. It’s just not the right thing. And that’s why I have put this winter as a reference to try and figure out my future. 

Ex-Racing driver Ralph Schumacher who is well connected within the F1 paddock believes Carlos relaxed attitude is because he knowns he will leave be leaving Ferrari.

“You get the feeling he has lost confidence in the team,” Schumacher remarked to Sky Germany. 

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Sainz connected with VW Audi

“I hear rumours that his father is in the paddock looking for an alternative.

“Ferrari is facing quite a disaster at the moment.”

Carlos Sainz Snr is still closely connected to the VW Group from his rally world championship winning days, which could see his son recruited by their Audi brand soon to join Formula One.

“Audi will need a driver with Formula 1 experience by 2026,” Schumacher concludes.

READ MORE: Norris calls Hamilton a ‘whinger’

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