Ferrari listened to all Sainz's team radio messages before hiring him, reveals Binotto
Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has given an insight into just how meticulous the team’s hiring process is when it comes to new drivers, as he revealed the Scuderia listened to all of Carlos Sainz’s radio communications with McLaren before swooping in to sign the Spaniard up for 2021.
Sainz’s move was part of a wave of driver market drama in 2020 as he was announced as Aston Martin-bound Sebastian Vettel’s replacement at Ferrari, while former Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was revealed to be Sainz’s replacement at McLaren.
With no dearth of talented young drivers available to Ferrari, Binotto explained to F1's Beyond The Grid podcast in December how the Maranello team whittled their choice down to Sainz.
“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.
“He’s a hard worker, he’s methodical, he’s robust, and I think they were all components that were important for us.”
Of course, that wasn’t the only priority for Ferrari when they chose Sainz; his speed, racecraft and consistency being just as important.
“In the race,” continued Binotto, “[Sainz 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].
“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.
“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.
Sainz partners Charles Leclerc in 2021 as Ferrari aim to bounce back from their worst constructors’ championship finish since 1980.