Carlos Sainz Jr feels it will be a “tough thing” to make his Ferrari Formula 1 debut with limited testing in its new car, but is relishing the challenge.
Sainz has joined Ferrari ahead of the 2021 season after being signed as four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel’s replacement back in May.
The Spaniard will partner Charles Leclerc at the Italian team, and joins off the back of two impressive years for McLaren that saw him help lift the team up to third in the constructors’ championship.
But Sainz will have only a narrow window to get up to speed in the Ferrari SF21 car following the reduction of pre-season testing to just three days ahead of the new season.
It means most teams will only be able to give each of its drivers just one-and-a-half days of running to get up to speed with the updated cars.
Although Ferrari is planning to give Sainz some private running in one of its older F1 cars in the coming weeks, Sainz acknowledged it would be a challenge to head into the new season with limited running in the 2021 car.
“I know that I’m going to arrive to Ferrari, and I’m going to need my races and my experiences to get to know how to extract the maximum out of that car,” Sainz told Autosport.
“If you add that it looks like I’m going to get one-and-a-half days of testing, and I’m going to go straight into my first race with only one day and a half of testing in a brand new car.
“For me it’s going to be a tough thing to do. But I like those kind of challenges. I’ll try and adapt myself as well as possible and as best I can, and see what I can get out of it.”
Sainz previously emphasised the importance of signing a multi-year deal upon joining McLaren, giving him long-term stability that allowed him to perform at a higher level.
Sainz has agreed an initial two-year contract with Ferrari, and although he felt there would always be pressure, he was confident the same kind of stability would help bring out the best in him.
“Pressure in Ferrari is always high,” Sainz said. “It doesn’t matter about the number of years on the contract, and I’m the first one that is wanting to be as fast as possible out of the box.
“But for me a two-year deal is important. It’s one of the things that I’ve always said since I joined McLaren and obviously since joining Ferrari, for a driver to have a bit of stability in a team is always important.
“I feel like in McLaren in my second year, I extracted a lot more out of the car than in my first year. And if you see people like Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault, you can clearly see how important it is to take a bit of time to know the car.
“You see the Charles Leclerc of today versus the Charles Leclerc of a year-and-a-half ago when he joined Ferrari, he’s a different Charles. If you see the Lewis [Hamilton] of today compared to the Lewis of 2013 when he joined Mercedes, he’s different.
“You know a lot better how to extract the performance of the car.”