A year on from appearing dominant at Spa, Ferrari had one of their worst outings in modern times where none of the Ferrari factory cars or its customer teams’ cars were able to finish in the points. This fall from grace has been quite stunning and rather unexpected and for one man, this might because for a lot of concern. That man is Ferrari’s new driver from next season, Carlos Sainz. What must make this even more painful for him would be the fact that McLaren in the same time period has been having one of its stronger seasons yet in recent memory. So, the big question on everyone’s mind is “Did Carlos Sainz make the right decision by signing for Ferrari?” Let’s find out.
Photo by Autosport.com
Timing is crucial to success in F1:
As a driver, timing your move to a different team can make all the difference in having a great career and one that never gets a chance to realize its full potential. A great example of someone who judged this to perfection is Lewis Hamilton. He is on the verge of breaking the records of Michael Schumacher, records that were once thought of as being unbeatable. A big reason behind his success is his decision to move from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013. Back then, McLaren was a far superior term and Mercedes were still finding their feet in F1. However, the ushering in of the hybrid era would see them becoming the dominant force in F1 and Lewis has already added five championships to the one he had with McLaren in 2008 and there is a strong possibility that he will win at least the next two titles as well. So, is Sainz’s move going to pay dividends in a similar manner?
photo by givemesport.com
Sainz will need patience:
A lot of patience and one thing that we can be sure of is the fact that Ferrari’s problems won’t be fixed in 2021. It has nothing to do with the team’s potentials. It is all about the regulations which won’t allow Ferrari to tinker with their power unit. All they can do is modify the aerodynamics and there is no way that aerodynamics alone can cover for the huge deficit in power they have to the front-running teams at the moment. So, Sainz can expect things to improve marginally but he will still be fighting in the midfield for most of 2021 with the odd lucky podium thrown in. 2022 is, however, a totally different prospect in F1. So, in that respect, Sainz’s move might pay off, that is, if he doesn’t fall out with Ferrari as many drivers have in the past especially when the team is going through a tough phase.
Lando Norris McLaren Austrian GP/ photo by Autosport.com
The big question is about McLaren:
Another thing to consider is that had he stayed at his current McLaren he probably wouldn’t have been much better off. McLaren has made great leaps in the last couple of years, they are still a long way off from regularly challenging for podiums. Another big unknown in this equation is the fact that they will be changing engine suppliers next year. If their whole saga with Honda is any indication, McLaren doesn’t exactly have a good track record when it comes to such a thing. They might actually go further down the grid when the engine switch comes into place.
So, Sainz is in the classic position of being caught between a rock and a hard place, and from that perspective, he has very little to lose by signing for Ferrari. Even if the Sainz-Ferrari partnership doesn’t work out, he will only be 28 at the end of the 2-year contract he has signed with the Italian team and he should still be in his prime to give it another shot at achieving his true potential in F1.