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Binotto: Ferrari listened to Sainz radio messages before making offer

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has offered a glimpse into the Scuderia’s hiring process for Sebastian Vettel’s replacement, as he revealed that the team listened to Carlos Sainz’s radio messages with McLaren before signing the Spaniard for 2021.

Sainz Leclerc Binotto
To news overview © Ferrari

Carlos Sainz made the jump to Ferrari as part of a series of moves in the driver market in 2020, including Sebastian Vettel’s departure for Aston Martin and Daniel Ricciardo leaving Renault to replace Sainz at McLaren.

While the Italian team have a wealth of junior driver talent, with Callum Illot as its test and reserve driver for next year, they opted to go with Sainz for the seat alongside Leclerc after carefully examining how he operated as a driver, Binotto told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“Before we made him an offer, we listened to all his radio communications just to see the way he was communicating, and you can see the way he is communicating is somehow telling you a lot about the way he is approaching the exercise – very precise, I think,” said Binotto.

The Ferrari team boss went on to explain how Sainz’s consistency and ability to both push the car and bring it over the line, as well as his work ethic, proved decisive factors in him getting the nod ahead of other potential candidates.

“He’s a hard worker, he’s methodical, he’s robust, and I think they were all components that were important for us," he continued.

“In the race he is consistent – he is fast, he is defending, he is attacking – but is bringing always the car to the finish line in a consistent way so I think he is a good driver to build a good season on of constructors’ [championship points].

Above all though, Binotto said, Sainz has the raw pace to compete for victories in F1 and has time on his side to develop into a leading force in the sport.

“Then we made an analysis on his speed; I believe he is fast, we believed he was fast, and I think he has proved even this season to be very fast if you are comparing to Norris who, already last year proved to be a very fast driver," he added.

“But if you look at Carlos in 2020, I think in the comparison he has been very strong, I think improved himself in quali compared to what it was before and is still very strong in the race. So he is a hard worker.

“On top of that he is young, which is why I think he’s got many years of experience in F1 – he’s still a young driver so he’s got a lot of time to develop, and he’s not certainly at the end of his career,” concluded the Ferrari boss.


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