(GMM) Before signing off for Christmas, Carlos Sainz Jr. has a clear message – he wants to keep racing for Ferrari for many more years.
During a Christmas lunch with international journalists at Fiorano, Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur hinted that he wants to keep both Charles Leclerc and Sainz on board beyond their 2024 contracts.
However, while rumors are rife that Leclerc is being offered a doubled salary and a new five-year deal, it is whispered that Spaniard Sainz’s offer is far shorter and much less generous.
“I would have liked to make the decision before the end of the year,” Vasseur said, “but I must admit that the last third of the season has been a bit chaotic, very demanding.
“We have had meetings, and we have started talking, but we are late with respect to the initial plan. We will take it slow and make a decision soon.”
Curiously, the Frenchman refused to rule out ever making an offer to Max Verstappen – despite joking that “I think he has a contract until 2045”. And Vasseur also admits that he talks regularly to Lewis Hamilton.
“If he signed a contract with me every time we spoke, it would cost me a fortune,” he joked again.
As for Sainz, some have been critical of his performances alongside Leclerc, but Vasseur insists the Spaniard “was more than strong” at times in 2024.
“That probably also has something to do with Charles’ good results at the end of the season because of the positive momentum. I will continue in this direction, but I don’t want to have one good driver and one less good one.”
So as rumors swirl about Vasseur’s current negotiations with his existing drivers for the period beyond 2024, Sainz makes clear that he is committed to talking about a deal.
“I am in the best place on the grid to be champion, without a doubt,” he told DAZN. “I am so happy at Ferrari and so happy to be part of this team that, at the moment, I don’t see an expiration date.
“I have, I hope, many years ahead of me and I wouldn’t mind counting all of them in red,” Sainz added. “In 2024 I ask for a car to win, but if we win or not, then let it be what God wants.”
The 29-year-old insists that he is usually “within a half a tenth” of Leclerc every time they hit the track.
“The ability he has on one lap, the ability has in the race to come back and gain positions at the start – I think we make a very good couple,” Sainz said.
“I think we are also two drivers who get along very well, but for the team I think they are most interested in having two drivers who push each other.
“I think we have a healthy competition between us, but we always prioritize the team,” Sainz added. “I try to bite when I have to bite, and I try to control myself when I have to control myself.”