|Sainz Jr. claims he will not be Leclerc's water boy|
UPDATE (GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr. has hit back at claims he will be Ferrari's 'number 2' driver from 2021.
A Ferrari insider this week said Charles Leclerc "is our future", using a football strategy analogy to explain that the earlier policy of having two strikers is ending.
"No, I have not signed anything that makes me the second driver," Spaniard Sainz, who will drive for McLaren this year before moving to Maranello, told El Partidazo de Cope radio.
"As with all the contracts I have signed, it says the team is above the driver but it does not put anything about being second or supporting anyone.
"What I know is that I will give everything for Ferrari, above all, to try to win. I treat every driver as a rival and don't worry, if there is a difficult situation, I will make the right decision," Sainz added.
Given that he is leaving McLaren, it has been suggested that the British team could freeze Sainz out of the car development process this year.
The driver doesn't think so: "I think they are going to tell me everything because I can still help them a lot for this year and for next year.
"I have told them to please keep me informed because I am the first to want to see McLaren on the podium as soon as possible," Sainz added.
Sainz was also asked about speculation linking his mentor and friend Fernando Alonso with a return to Formula 1 next year.
"Right now Renault is not among the competitive teams, but changes are coming in Formula 1 and I don't know if that can help Fernando make the decision to return," he said.
"I have not spoken on the topic with him, so I don't know what idea he has or how much he wants it. But I do know that Formula 1 is for the best drivers, and he is one of them."
06/02/20 (GMM) An unnamed Ferrari insider has admitted that the Maranello team is planning to succeed by rallying around Charles Leclerc.
Not long after former number 1 and quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel was ousted for 2021 and beyond, the insider told Auto Motor und Sport: "Charles Leclerc is our future."
Using football tactics to describe Ferrari's new approach, he explained: "In the future we will play 4-4-1-1 instead of 4-4-2."
To explain; the 4-4-2 strategy relies on two strikers, while 4-4-1-1 has a single striker and an attacking midfielder or 'trequartista'.
The Ferrari insider said having two strikers in Formula 1 is only effective if a team is dominant.
"If Hamilton and Rosberg had been driving in the same team again in 2017, it could have backfired on Mercedes," the source is quoted as saying.
"We had a car that was good enough to benefit from it."
And so, Ferrari apparently opted to end the tension in the hierarchy between Leclerc and Vettel for 2021 and have instead signed up 25-year-old Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr.
The insider said Sainz's 2021 role would not have been suitable for Vettel.
"In 2021, we would have needed him to make sacrifices that would have been difficult for him to accept," the source said.