The former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi says that Carlos Sainz reminds him of Alain Prost and that this year’s Ferrari line-up could be one of the best drivers pair in Formula 1 history.
Jean Alesi raced for Ferrari from 1991 to 1995. In his first year, he drove alongside Alain Prost, before entering the four-time world champion’s team Prost Grand Prix in 2000. Both men are considered as legends of Formula 1 and are still nowadays involved in the sport, Prost working with Alpine and Alesi does so with Ferrari.
Carlos Sainz signed a two-year deal with the Scuderia earlier this year. The Prancing Horse brand has very high expectations for the Spaniard as they are clearly aiming to re-build themselves and fight for championships in just a few years. Ferrari needed a driver that was able to work for the team and with the team and not for his own account. The selection was so tough that Ferrari even listened to every single team radio from Sainz to make sure they had the right profile in mind.
Jean Alesi is in close relation with the Scuderia Ferrari and he is already very impressed by Sainz, pointing out his ability to persevere and to be incredibly efficient on Sundays. This ability reminds him of a certain Alain Prost:
“His main characteristic is to know how to finish the work better. He is a driver who does everything step by step, he structures the weekend with a view to growing. If he’s fifth in qualifying on Saturday, you have to expect him to be on the podium on Sunday. In this sense, he reminds me a lot of Alain Prost who, regardless of the car, managed to do it: on Fridays and Saturdays he didn’t stand out much, but then he knew how to take advantage of any opportunity the race offered him and optimize the result”, Alesi says.
However, the Frenchman is confident regarding the atmosphere between the drivers, as he thinks they both know the 2021 season will be a construction site for the team to rebuild and bounce back with the new era of Formula 1 starting in 2022. Moreover, Alesi thinks that the experience of Carlos Sainz combined with the ability of Leclerc to deal with strong teammates like Sebastian Vettel will allow them to deal with the pressure they could exert on each other.
“I wouldn’t think so much in terms of how much Carlos might annoy Charles because they both have to think in terms of rebuilding and because Leclerc has already had very strong teammates, he knows how to handle pressure and internal competition,” Alesi stated.
Carlos Sainz will surely need some time to adapt to the SF21. Nonetheless, it already looks like he established the work atmosphere he was looking for before entering the team. Leclerc admitted that the atmosphere improved a lot with the arrival of Carlos Sainz.
“There was a time where [the atmosphere] was not great. But very quickly the mentality changed and there was a huge motivation to try and come back to where we want to be”, Charles Leclerc says.