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Carlos Sainz

Alonso defends 'very competitive' Sainz amid difficult Ferrari spell

Carlos Sainz has found himself with quite a points deficit to teammate Charles Leclerc heading into Sunday's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but that did not stop Ferrari from handing him a new two-year contract extension.

Sainz Leclerc Imola Rain
To news overview © Ferrari

Fernando Alonso thinks that Ferrari did the right thing in tying Carlos Sainz down to a new two-year contract, despite his difficult start to the 2022 season.

Sainz has found himself lagging behind teammate Charles Leclerc in the race for the World Championship following the first three opening rounds of the campaign, and has already crashed his F1-75 twice.

After following Leclerc over the line in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, Sainz beached his F1-75 in the gravel in Australia, before hitting the wall during qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

But, during the Sprint that followed at Imola, Sainz fought back from 10th on the grid to place fourth, putting himself in a strong position to battle for the win on race day.

Alonso: Ferrari should stay at the top

Alonso, who won 11 times during his five-year Ferrari career, believes that his former team have done the right thing in keeping Sainz onboard, and predicts that they will remain "very competitive" for a long time to come.

"I'm happy for him, and obviously for Ferrari. I think they did good to continue," said Alonso, speaking to members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.

"After a good season last year and a good start now, obviously they have the fastest car now, so it is good to see Carlos in that car for a few more years.

"And with these new regulations, they should stay a very competitive package."

Imola brings back fine memories for Alonso

During his Ferrari career, Alonso came close to winning the World Championship on two occasions, in both 2010 and 2012, but ultimately failed to achieve the team's big objective.

One of his most famous victories came at Imola, on Tifosi territory, with Renault back in 2005, on his way to beating Michael Schumacher to the title.

Now back with the renamed Alpine team, he is targeting another memorable race on Sunday, for which he will start in ninth.

"Yeah, obviously [I have] great memories [with Ferrari], and at Imola, even though I think all the memories that I have here were not in a Ferrari car, and I was the enemy," he explained.

"It's still a good place for the sport and a lot of things happen here at this circuit.

"I didn't have a great race last year, so that's my most recent memory and I want to change that [on Sunday]."

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F1 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix RN365 News dossier