'At the moment I'm happy to fight them' - Sainz not worried about Ferrari form ahead of '21 switch
Carlos Sainz began his final season at McLaren by outqualifying and finishing ahead the driver he’s set to replace in 2021 - Sebastian Vettel - in the Austrian Grand Prix. That might have set off alarm bells about Ferrari’s performance and status as a ‘top-three’ team in 2020, but Sainz insists he's happy to enjoy McLaren’s resurgence, and has no worries over Ferrari’s performance when he joins in 2021.
On Thursday ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria, Sainz was asked whether he was worried that Ferrari’s form would carry over to next season and potentially cause the team to be left behind by McLaren - a fact made more likely by the fact teams will be carrying the same cars into 2021 as used this year.
“No not really," said the Spaniard. "I think you summarised it very well with me saying that I’m not thinking about 2021 probably… so probably, no.
“I haven’t really thought about a carry-over of this Ferrari form into next year. I’m confident they’ve always been at the top in Formula 1 and they will make it back there sooner rather than later. At the moment I’m happy to fight them on track.
“I think the progress from McLaren, it’s been really good progress from this team and I’m really happy that we’re able to fight Ferrari, close to Red Bull, close to Racing Point that we thought they were going to be ahead – and I’m just enjoying the challenge so far this year.”
Team mate Lando Norris brought the team their second podium in three Grands Prix and his first podium ever by finishing third last week, but Sainz argued it’s still too early to draw conclusions about McLaren's real place in the pecking order.
“I think we first need to go to a few tracks to evaluate our performance," said the Spaniard. "I think Austria over the past few years has been a very good track for us, last year we already performed very strongly here and other tracks might expose some weaknesses with our package.
"But overall I think it’s been a very strong start and something to be proud of after such a tough period of time and we just need to keep pushing."