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Carlos Sainz Admits “Surprise” After Losing Ferrari Seat to Hamilton

Carlos Sainz Jnr admitted to being surprised when he learned that he had lost his seat to seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton....

At the launch of Ferrari’s 2024 challenger, the SF-24, Carlos Sainz Jnr admitted to being surprised when he learned that he had lost his seat to seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton. Despite that, he believes his future will be bright thanks to everything he and Ferrari have achieved.

It was a surprise, not only for Sainz, but for the world because during 2023, Hamilton announced that he had extended his contract with Mercedes for 2024 and 2025. Clearly, there was an exit clause for Hamilton.

“I think there was obviously a bit of a surprise, like everyone in the Formula 1 world, with the news,” Sainz told the media. “I think everyone was surprised in a way with what happened.

“From my side, you can obviously understand that I got all the news a bit earlier than anyone else. But it’s true that then I had some weeks to reflect, some weeks to prepare and some weeks to also get ready for the car launch for the first race of the season so it gives you a bit of time to digest it, to draw your own conclusions how to focus on the 2024 season.”

Ferrari team principal, Frederic Vasseur, said that telling Sainz and his team that he was being replaced “was not the easiest call of my life.”

“We had a long discussion as you can imagine,” Vasseur told the media, “But I will be fully supportive with Carlos, he is fully committed and we know that we have to do the job together. We are together, we are professional.”

While Sainz would have preferred to continue his stint at Ferrari, he admits that his time at Ferrari will make him a very attractive prospect for other teams.

“I think I’m actually very privileged to be part of Ferrari and still having a year ahead of me, a total of four years as a Ferrari driver,” Sainz said. “And I think once you are a Ferrari driver, you can go to every team from now on having been at Ferrari. Having been a Ferrari driver I think does good to any driver on the grid.

“If on top of that you add the fact that I won races for Ferrari, I made pole positions, I made podiums, I think I’ve helped this team to move forward up the grid and to be a better team, [then] my overall feeling of these four years is definitely positive. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me because I’m sure there is going to be good things coming.”

Sainz said he will always treasure his time at Ferrari, not only the wins and podiums, but the relationships he’s made.

“I have very, very good memories in this team but I would start with the first day driving a Ferrari in Fiorano,” he said. “My first ever lap in a Ferrari around Fiorano is one the most emotional moments of my career.

“Then my first podium with Ferrari, first pole, first win, and then obviously the Singapore win. And then along the way, a lot of great moments with people in this team I take with me a lot of good friends in the paddock. A lot of great engineers that I’ve worked with, great mechanics, great management people in different levels and hopefully still with one year ahead of us still good memories to be made.”

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