Sainz fears 'very difficult' first year at Ferrari as F1 cuts winter testing

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Carlos Sainz fears his first year at Ferrari will be compromised by Formula 1 cutting pre-season testing in 2021.

After already reducing the number of days down from eight to six this year, it is expected that F1 will have just a single three-day test in Bahrain before the planned season-opener in Australia on March 21.

The reasons for this are to cut costs amid the fallout from Covid-19 and also because the current cars are to be used again in 2021, meaning the usual teething issues should be avoided.

Even so, Sainz says the reduction in running time will significantly impact those drivers moving teams next year, including him.

"A day and a half to be prepared for a season without knowing previously the car is practically impossible to be prepared for the first race," the Spaniard said in Turkey.

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"That will make my first half of the season at Ferrari very difficult, for Fernando [Alonso at Renault], Ricciardo [at McLaren] and other drivers who change team.

"I don't understand why it's only three days, one and a half days per driver. I'm not in favour of it, especially as there are no tests during the season."

In the case of Alonso, he has already conducted three outings with Renault, one being a filming day in the 2020 car and the other two being tests in the 2018 car.

Typically, some drivers moving teams have also gained some initial experience at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, but that avenue is not open this year.

"It is no secret that I would be interested in being in that test and driving the Ferrari," he said.

"It depends on the personal interests of other teams, which have to be agreed, and the FIA would have to give the okay.

"But it's not a secret that I would be interested in being in that test."

Ahead of his move, Sainz is continuing to impress at McLaren, including a strong recovery from 15th to fifth at the Turkish Grand Prix, finishing just 2.7s behind Sergio Perez in second.

“A race like [Turkey] just confirmed the quality Carlos has,” team boss Andreas Seidl claimed.

“We know from previous races in the last years that he likes tricky conditions, he likes these wet or mixed conditions and that he has this talent to take the right approach in terms of risk.

“He manages to keep the car on track while still making progress on track and making the moves stick like he did today, it’s simply a big benefit.

“Also [it helps] if you have a driver that works for some time already with his engineer, and his engineering team because, in conditions like today, you have a lot of communication ongoing between driver and the pit wall.

“And there you see also the experience Carlos has because it’s important then to stay brief on the radio, but also clear of what’s going on out there at the track, so that we can match this with the data we see on the pit wall, and that in the end makes them make the right decisions at the right time.

“He’s a great driver. There’s a reason why Ferrari went after him for next year. So I’m really looking forward to the last three races with him in our team, and then hopefully we beat him next year!”