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leclerc sainz ferrari animosity f1

Cracks at Ferrari as future uncertain for Sainz and Leclerc

leclerc sainz ferrari animosity f1

Widely reported animosity between Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, mounting with every Grand Prix weekend, suggests one of the two will be leaving the team if not at the end of this season certainly before 2026.

In fact, believable gossip in the Formula 1 paddock is that Sainz will move to Audi where he will be reunited with former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl turned Audi F1 boss for the company’s 2026 foray into F1.

Clearly, Sainz is tired of playing number two to Leclerc. Hard to tell which of the two is better at this stage of their respective careers. If the truth be told they are miles away from the benchmark set by Max Verstappen. But then the two Charlies don’t have the mighty Red Bull RB19 in their garages.

They have an awkward Ferrari to drive, which does them little favours and, because their level is relatively the same last this stage, they tend to fight for the same piece of tarmac on too many occasions. And neither will back down as we saw during their cameo in Qualifying for the British Grand Prix last Saturday.

Leclerc had a good old moan over the radio when Sainz blitzed past him as cars jostled for position during the final stages of Qualifying at Silverstone: “Nice Carlos. Nice, good overtake in the last corner.”

Sainz: I was not going to get a lap in during Silverstone quali…

Leclerc: Sainz's late Q1 overtake at Silverstone 'no big deal' – Motorsport  Week

While the Ferrari pitwall expected Leclerc to be the lead Red car with Sainz in tow, as per a pre-arranged agreement, the Spaniard had his own ideas: “The problem was people behind us started to overtake, which meant if you give a four-second gap between all the cars I was not going to get a lap in.

“Everyone’s got to respect that four-second gap that we more or less give each other. A gentleman’s agreement doesn’t exist anymore. There is a rule that one weekend I go first, and another weekend he goes first.

“Obviously, it’s his time to go first this weekend. When you’re behind in quali you feel you ate more in a rush you know to get a lap in. I really didn’t get a lap in, that’s why I had to overtake,” explained Sainz.

Leclerc tempered down things with his own post-quali observation of the incident: “[My] radio message was probably a bit more aggressive than it should have been. I think Carlos will understand that quickly. In fact, from Sainz’s point of view, the real trouble started earlier, namely when exiting the pit lane.

Which of the two Charlies is better? Sainz or Leclerc?

ferrari leclerc sainz red mist best wishes for Ferrari

While it is a toss-up regarding who of the two Charlies is actually the better F1 driver. The general consensus is Leclerc is faster on a one-lap pace but Sainz has better race craft than his teammate. But both are inconsistent when overdriving bad cars with the obvious consequences.

But the real problem is that with a good car, they both overdrive to try and beat each other. This ultimately lies at the root of the problem for Ferrari: neither will accept number two status, and both want to be Champions which triggers Rule number one of the sport: Beat your teammate. Better destroy them!

And that’s not Ferd Vasseur’s problem, but rather the lack of foresight (naivety?) of the Ferrari leadership when they thought hiring Sainz he would be a compliant second fiddle to their chosen one: Leclerc. Carlos and his entourage including Sainz Snr make it clear that the tile is their objective.

Sainz did well to beat Leclerc in their first year together. Last year Charles had the better time of it, especially in the first quarter of the season, This year, they are about the same level. No better than they were when they first greeted each other with fake joy when the Spaniard became a Ferrari driver at the start of 2021.

That’s why it feels so false when teams project their drivers to be great buddies as Ferrari (and all the others) do too often.

Teammates are not friends no matter what they say

Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost

Drivers doing stupid shit (egg & spoon races!!!) together for their social media crowd for snaps and clicks. Snaps of mock love and forced smiles when all they are thinking is: How do I destroy my teammate?

Perhaps the ‘influencers’ forget that the majority of real F1 fans know it’s all a sham to make sponsors and tweeters happy. Teammates tolerate each other because they have to in all single-seater/karting disciplines. Other than that, on track, they really hate each other no matter what they say. They have to. That’s F1, that’s race drivers. For some what happens on track stays on track. For others not.

Senna-Prost springs to mind. When two F1 greats, Alain and Ayrton went for it in the late eighties. The hatred is palpable throughout their careers in the top flight, triggered by their fractious but dominant years as McLaren teammates. The Brazilian’s obsession

Adding further misery to Sainz’s weekend (when no doubt Audi are watching his every move) was one glaring mistake in the Grand Prix that lost him three positions. That turned his afternoon into a chase that went backwards. Carlos finished tenth, Leclerc ninth for another miserable weekend for the Reds.

In a refreshing take on the matter, respected F1 journo Joe Saward wrote of the Silly Season and the Ferrari problem: “The rumour mill now thinks Carlos Sainz will go off to Audi in 2025 while others think Charles Leclerc will go mad if he stays where he is at Ferrari and that Mercedes would love to have him. I am not saying any of this is true, I am merely pointing out the chitchat.”

Decision time for Ferrari as they plan for Fred Vasseur’s future for the great team

leclerc sainz ferrari turrini f1 2023 vasseur

Whatever happens, Ferrari have to rethink their future driver strategy. Two into one does not go or more aptly, for the great Scuderia, they cannot have two prancing stallions in the same garage. Their greatest era with Michael Schumacher was all about building a team around one man who was capable of delivering, as the great German did. They wrote the template for the success of that kind.

The question is, are they really committed to Leclerc enough to let Sainz go and hire a proven wingman (eg. Valtteri Bottas) for the vacated seat? His role to ensure Charles gets the big trophy, much like the Finn did with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

But then how committed will Leclerc be to a non-winning Ferrari team? And if Red Bull or Mercedes came calling? He already said he would look elsewhere if that were to be the case. Both he and Sainz have contracts with Maranello until the end of 2024.

Time will tell what Fred Vassuer and his men do about their drivers at F1’s most successful and supported team. One thing is sure, there is a big shake-up on the horizon – not just at Maranello – that will probably turn F1 on its head between now and 2025, even 2026 when the next batch of new rules kick in.

And who knows, there may even be an 11th or 12th team on the grid at that point. Should that happen, the Silly Season will be on fire from then until the F1 musical chairs are filled for the next era.