It seems Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari agreed to part ways much earlier after replacement Carlos Sainz revealed he was first approached during the 2019/20 winter.
Last week the shock news came that Vettel won’t be racing for Ferrari after the ’20 season having failed to agree terms to extend his contract, with the German reportedly unhappy with Ferrari’s offer.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto later came out and said the four-time World Champion didn’t share the team’s short- and long-term goals, which ultimately led to the decision to part ways.
Sainz was quickly confirmed as Vettel’s replacement, leading to suggestions Ferrari and the Spaniard were talking much earlier, which Sainz has now confirmed was the case.
When asked when he was first approached, Sainz replied: “I’m not going to give you an exact date, but I will tell you winter between 2019 and 2020,” he told the official Formula 1 website.
“Believe me the moment I heard that I then went to ask permission from Zak to go and talk to them in a more serious way. And without knowing what Zak’s reaction was going to be, he immediately came to me and said, ‘look, it’s an opportunity, go and talk to them and see what they’re about’.”
With Charles Leclerc confirmed at Ferrari through 2024, there are suggestions Sainz has been signed as a ‘solid number two’ driver, but the 25-year-old says he’s confident of “building something special”.
“They are going to find an extremely hard working guy, that will go to Italy, will spend a lot of time in Maranello, the same way I spent a lot of time at McLaren,” he added. “And I will try to build something special with Ferrari, the way I tried to build something special in McLaren.”