Carlos Sainz Jr. admits it was difficult to turn down the opportunity to race for Scuderia Ferrari after being signed to replace the departing Sebastian Vettel for 2021.
The Spaniard has left the McLaren F1 Team after two seasons at Woking, with Sainz earning himself two podium finishes in that time, one at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2019 and then in the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
Sainz has been a breath of fresh air at McLaren as he built up a good rapport with team-mate Lando Norris, but when Ferrari called to partner Charles Leclerc, it was a move that he found almost impossible to turn down.
“First of all, you are driving for Ferrari. I don’t think there’s much more to say,” Sainz is quoted as saying by GPFans.com. “Becoming a Ferrari driver is in every driver’s mind and every driver’s dreams. Independently of the situation, it’s very, very difficult to say no to that.
“At that point, I was pretty convinced that as an Italian team…I’d always felt comfortable with Toro Rosso, and I always felt like Ferrari could be a good place for me. I know Italian, I know some people there, and I felt like I could have a successful time there immediately.
“Apart from that, I think sentimentally, driving for the most successful team in the history of the sport is always the dream of any Formula 1 driver.”
Just prior to Christmas, Sainz visited Maranello for the first time ahead of his 2021 move, with a seat fitting taking place as well as a number of meetings with engineers, mechanics and Team Principal Mattia Binotto.
Sainz says he is ready to make the move to Ferrari as he bids to turn his dream of winning the World Championship into reality with the Maranello-based outfit.
“I feel ready for whatever comes,” said the Spaniard. “I’ve always said my ultimate goal in Formula 1 is to try to be world champion one day, and I’m ready to take that next step into Ferrari and see how it goes.
“I feel 100% ready.”