Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said that he does not expect Carlos Sainz to be fully integrated with the team during the first race in Bahrain.
The Spaniard will make his official debut with the Prancing Horse this weekend driving the new SF21 during the pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.
For the drivers that are new inside a team, this year is not going to be easy to adapt to the car and to the new procedures. This because the days available for testing are only going to be three.
To overcome this issue, Ferrari arranged some private tests for Carlos in Maranello, trying to make him comfortable inside the team and giving him the possibility to collect kilometers and experience with the red car. However, Binotto thinks that this might not have been enough and not everything will be perfect and adjusted for Sainz at the first race of the season.
“Only three days of winter testing is a very short time,” Binotto said.
“We know that for Carlos that will be a challenge. We organized some testing with old cars in Fiorano. I think every single mile he did in our race cars is important for him to integrate into the team, to get used to our procedures.
“But I have to say that Carlos has progressed and is very well integrated. I think his feedback of the car to the engineers has been good. I think that his speed on track as well has proved to be good and developing, day after day.
“It will take still some more time. We are not expecting him to be fully integrated 100% at the start of the season, but again, every single day will be important.
“I believe he will be ready for the start of the season, if not 100%, very close. Because in the end, he is not a rookie. He is a professional driver, he’s got some F1 seasons on his back.
“I’m pretty sure that he will manage very well the situation and be ready.”
Carlos wanted to be fully ready for his debut in red, but he admitted that from previous experiences, changing team is not the easiest thing to get used to, therefore it takes time and not everything will be perfect right away.
“My intention is obviously to be 100% ready for race one, but realistically speaking, in my experience, changing teams during all these years tells me that is very difficult to achieve,” Sainz said.
“There’s always experiences and feelings that you need to go through the race by race, or race weekend by race weekend in free practices, in qualifying and in the races that you always end up learning during the races rather than testing.
“One-and-a-half days of testing per driver is not going to help for sure, but at the same time, I’m going to try and count on my experience of changing teams lately and try to arrive at the race one to my maximum level.
“My 100% level, which is the level that I considered I was showing in McLaren race in race out, when am I going to achieve that? It is very difficult to tell.
“My intention is as soon as possible and if it’s from race one, then even better, but that depends also on the first feeling with a car.”