Flawless premiere for Sainz

It all came together on the Madrid native's first day at the wheel of a Ferrari, the 2018 SF71H, at Fiorano. He will be back on Thursday morning.


Cold winter morning in Fiorano, some lap with the safety car to review the circuit, start the engines and work, there is no time to lose. Carlos Sainz completed his first kilometers as a Ferrari driver in Formula 1 on Wednesday at the wheel of the 2018 SF71H. It was at the circuit attached to the Maranello factory, he will repeat on Thursday morning and will finish fine-tuning his adaptation to the ways of the Prancing Horse so that when the Bahrain preseason (March 12-14) and the first grand prix of the year (March 28) arrive, your only concern will be looking for extra tenths in the car.

It premiered shortly before 10:00 a.m. and ended around 5:00 p.m. local time. The plan, according to sources present in the test, was rolled, as planned with the aim of exceeding one hundred laps. There are no official records, few things are at this Fiorano track (Michael Schumacher's record with the F2004 was set at 55,999). The impressions are good and it is reciprocal: Sainz has a lot of experience in Formula 1, not only because of his 118 grands prix, but also because he knows the know-how of Faenza (Toro Rosso, today Alpha Tauri), Enstone (Renault, today Alpine) and Woking (McLaren), and now he is beginning to see satisfactorily why Ferrari have managed to make so many winning cars.

The team's staff attended, with Mattia Binotto and Laurent Mekies, as well as the company's president and interim CEO, John Elkan. Also Carlos Sainz father. There were dozens of tifosi or curious about the bald spots of the circuit, which can be accessed from some section of public road, the expectation is great around the Madrid pilot, 26 years old. With these opening laps, Sainz joins Fernando Alonso and Alfonso de Portago, the two former official Spanish drivers who wore the Ferrari insignia at the Grand Prix. Also to Marc Gené, Pedro de la Rosa or Dani Juncadella, three who participated in tests with various Italian Formula 1.

carsHaste to cut tests

The great challenge faced by drivers who change teams in 2021 lies in reducing the pre-season tests, which remain at three. In 2020 there were six and in 2019, not so long ago, eight. Those three days are a day and a half per rider, so Sainz, like Ricciardo at McLaren, Alonso at Alpine or Checo at Red Bull, will have fewer hours on the track to get to know both their new mount and the work team around them. .

The Fiorano test solves the first mandatory steps to get used to the steering wheel controls, radio communications and the type of message that Riccardo Adami, his new race engineer from Vettel, throws at him. Also, above, some peculiarities in the way these cars drive, although in this case the application is less direct: the SF21 will have little to do with the SF71H because the aerodynamics will have undergone up to two relevant changes in this three-year period per regulation changes and the power unit will be completely new. The car will be new even for Leclerc, Sainz's partner.

From Ímola to Silverstone

There are no races in winter, but the teams' work intensifies to arrive at the Bahrain GP with the best possible car while working, at the same time, on the 2022 designs. For example, the Japanese Yuki Tsunoda drove the Alpha Tauri at Imola also this Wednesday and Sebastian Vettel visited Aston Martin Racing Point headquarters in Silverstone to take a seat. Another who will have to test his new mechanics sooner rather than later. At least in that, Ferrari and Sainz are already ahead of the rest.

Photos from as.com
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