Ferrari will have a new driver in their ranks in 2021 with Carlos Sainz taking over Sebastian Vettel, and test driver Marc Gene explained the decision to sign the Spaniard was one that was thoroughly researched.
The 26-year-old had a standout campaign in 2020, finishing the season sixth in the drivers' standings after collecting 105 points with McLaren. Despite the success, Sainz opted to leave the Woking outfit for Ferrari, with Gene revealing he was part of the process that ultimately led the Scuderia to their new driver.
"I was involved in the decision because part of my job is also working with the drivers and a detailed study wasn't made on last year alone," Gene told Onda Cero. "In my case, for example, I did an analysis from starting from his first races in Formula 1.
"You do some statistics, but the person who really decides is Mattia Binotto. A driver's history is already made but then you are also very interested in knowing how he is at the personal level, his personality, his attitude.
"One of Carlos's great virtues is his maturity, his mental strength and that he is a calm rider even in extreme situations."
Sainz will have his work cut out for him as he will partner Charles Leclerc in 2021. The Monegasque driver is entering his third season with Ferrari, and while Gene believes that gives him the upper hand, he expects Sainz to be in front on some occasions.
"Leclerc starts as favourite because he knows the team much more," Gene added. "I can guarantee you that there is no number one and number two because it makes no sense. We know internally and Carlos also knows that Leclerc has an advantage from the start.
"I am sure that Carlos is going to be in front of Leclerc on some occasions this year. I expect this to happen more so during the second half of the season."