“It kept opening up my eyes”– Carlos Sainz talks about how changing setups frequently in Formula 1 made him prepared for Ferrari.
In a short span of six years in Formula 1, Carlos Sainz has competed for four different constructors, signalling his habit of settling with a new team instantly.
Even this year, when there was little mileage available during the tests in Bahrain, Sainz instantly clicked with Ferrari. The Spaniard credits his move from Renault to McLaren for this.
“At first when I changed from Toro Rosso to Renault, I thought ‘well okay these two cars are completely different, but maybe this is maybe a one-off’,” he explained.
“But then changing from Renault to McLaren, it was then completely different again, and then McLaren to Ferrari was completely different again. So it kept opening up my eyes a bit about how different everything is from those four different teams and how much you need to adapt in that way.
“I guess I have some practice with it being in four different teams in five or six different years, obviously, has given me that awareness, but I would say it’s more down to detail.”
“When I arrived at Renault, that first race in Austin I was in the pace, straightaway. But I felt like I lacked the last two tenths from the toys, the diff maps, the engine braking and the last bit of driving style to extract the last two tenths.”
“The same applied to McLaren and probably same applies to Ferrari. All the set-up options that you have in the car, how to use them, how to exploit them depending on the track,” he added.
“And that I’m talking a lot more about the mechanical and the aero, you just don’t know what is going to suit each track. You probably need years of experience with that car to know that one goes in one direction or the other depending on the circuit,” he added.
Need to understand the machinery
Sainz added that current Formula 1 cars are “so complex and have so many things you can actually do as a driver inside the cockpit”, heightening the need to understand the nuances of each package.
“You need to put the time, the dedication to it,” he said. “But at the same time, if you don’t have the capacity as a driver also to adapt, it’s impossible.
“I’m still having to change the style, the driving, and having that open mind, that probably what I did in the McLaren is not going to work in the Ferrari, and I need to change a couple of techniques on my driving side, and I have to do that.
“And probably there’s quite a lot of private things that I cannot talk about too much.”