Carlos Sainz has insisted that he "doesn't care" about rumours Lewis Hamilton could join the Ferrari Formula 1 team from the 2024 season.
Seven-time champion Hamilton has long been linked with making a switch to Maranello, with reports earlier this week suggesting the Scuderia were preparing a bumper off to entice him to leave Mercedes once his contract expires at the end of the 2023 season.
Team boss Frederic Vasseur flatly denied such an approach had been made, while Hamilton himself revealed that a fresh contract with Mercedes was imminent after negotiations.
Speaking ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Sainz admitted that the rumours might have bothered him earlier in his career, but insisted he was unfazed by the speculation.
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Sainz dismisses Hamilton claim
"Honestly, no, because I don't feel like I need to," Sainz explained to media, including RacingNews365.com, if he had spoken with Vasseur regarding his future.
"I know at this time of year, the rumours start and it is silly season time.
"A week and a half ago, I was going to Audi, one week ago, Charles was going to Mercedes and now Lewis is coming to Ferrari.
"It is the story of our lives when it comes to this time of year - and I've been in F1 long enough, more than eight years, to know that it is this time of the year.
"Back in the day, you would have read the media a lot more and try to find out a lot more.
"Now, I prefer to focus on my Monaco weekend, and just don't care about what the others are saying and focus on myself. That's always worked out fine."
Deadline for sorting future
The Spanish driver is currently in his third season at Ferrari, and has given a firm deadline for when he'd like his F1 future sorted.
"Obviously, I don't want to reveal what my strategies are in terms of contractual negotiations because it is something that I never disclose," he explained.
"If you heard me in interviews in the past, I like going into an F1 season knowing where I'm going to race the year after because I went through that experience in Renault (in 2018) and I didn't enjoy how it played out.
"My target [to get a deal sorted is] not necessarily this year, but before the start of next year or during the start of next year."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to ask if Mattia Binotto could really join Alpine, what Pirelli's new tyres are about and the latest on the Red Bull-Ford partnership!