“You go into it without trying to believe it too much”- Carlos Sainz’s first reaction to Ferrari’s contact with the Spaniard for 2021 seat.
The announcements of Sebastian Vettel’s departure and Carlos Sainz replacing him happened in quick succession, with only a 48 hours long gap replacing it.
But Sainz never saw it coming on his way, as only in Mclaren he managed to establish his foot in the sport, and he expected to wait a little longer before a bigger side come knocking his door.
However, when the COVID-19 ravaged the world, Sainz was rejoicing with his imminent departure to Maranello, reflecting on those days, Sainz revealed to Autosport, what he felt.
“The first time we got in contact, you can imagine, you go into it without trying to believe it too much,” Sainz told. “[You’re thinking] they must just be talking to all the drivers. So I tried to be very relaxed about it. I tried to keep my focus always on the present.
“But during the lockdown, there was nothing to do. There was not a lot to think about, so I started to get a bit more interested and a bit keener.”
“All of a sudden, everything started happening very quickly during that period of time.”
Sainz further told that the days after the announcement were overwhelming, as once you sign for Ferrari, you’re immediately the centre of attention for the media.
“When you sign for Ferrari, you know what’s coming, all the media attention,” Sainz said. “It was in the middle of lockdown, and I knew that going into Austria, a lot of questions were going to be asked.
“It’s a period of time that you know you’re going to get a lot of media attention, especially in Spain. I don’t think many people in Spain expected Carlos Sainz to be part of Ferrari maybe one or two years ago. So it got quite big at the time.
“But it very quickly went away. We managed together with McLaren to make sure there were not many stories developing, just focusing on the present.
“We didn’t want the stories being generated, and we wanted to focus on a critical year that we had. I think it worked really well,” he added. “The relationship with McLaren has always been very open and very relaxed. So never really got to feel a lot of pressure, a lot of weight on my shoulders.”