Carlos Sainz says he’s in agreement with Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur regarding the decision to shelve driver contract negotiations in favour of improving the side’s current on-track performance.
Amid rumours in Italy linking Williams’ Alex Albon with a switch to Ferrari, Vasseur disputed last week that the Italian outfit’s focus remained on improving its uncompetitive standing in 2023.
After starting the new regulation cycle last year with the fastest car, Ferrari has only scored two podiums across the first 11 races of 2023 and languishes fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Sainz, along with team-mate Charles Leclerc, upholds a contract through 2024 and admitted earlier in the year he wanted his future sorted before next season begins.
However, the Spaniard underlines that he agrees with Vasseur’s view, stating that the congestion of the F1 calendar has added to the challenge of conducting talks.
“No, I personally agree with Fred,” Sainz said. “I think in Ferrari right now there’s much bigger priorities than sorting out the future of its drivers.
“Also, personally, with so many races consecutively, it’s not like you can stop for a minute and really think about your future and what you want to do and what do you see in the next two or three years happening for you. I think with so many back-to-backs, so many races, it’s difficult.”
But Sainz has reiterated his plans to open discussions surrounding his future at the end of this season, admitting those thoughts will emerge during the upcoming summer break.
“I’m not going to lie, there’s the three-week break in August that I will start maybe thinking a bit what I would be happy with or, or whatever,” he added.
“And then the winter break, that I think is what I said in that interview a while ago, that it will be time to start figuring out where I will be racing in ’25.
“But going back to Fred, I fully agree, because in Ferrari there’s much bigger priorities, much bigger, more important things that we need to sort out in the short term.
“And that is my priority: to be competitive with Ferrari, not only this year, but also next year that I still have a contract in place and get next year’s car right and get it better than where we are now.”
Ferrari’s persistent troubles in 2023 mean Sainz is the only driver among the leading eight in the Drivers’ Championship yet to record a top-three race finish.
Both of the Scuderia’s podiums this season have come courtesy of Leclerc, who also notched Ferrari’s sole pole position of the year in Azerbaijan back in April.
However, Sainz currently leads his Ferrari partner in the standings by seven points, with the pair occupying sixth and seventh positions respectively.
The Maranello-based team collectively lie a disappointing fourth in the standings.
Despite closing the deficit to Aston Martin to 17 points in Hungary, Ferrari will be looking over its shoulder at a resurgent McLaren, who have taken successive podium finishes.