Binotto confident Sainz will bring immediate benefits at Ferrari

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Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto believes Carlos Sainz will bring immediate benefits to the team from 2021.

The Spaniard was signed last May to replace four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel and will form the Scuderia's youngest ever driver pairing alongside 23-year-old Charles Leclerc.

For Sainz, the opportunity comes after two impressive years at McLaren where he finished sixth in the Drivers' standings twice, and Binotto highlighted the qualities he sees in the second-generation racer.

“He is a fast driver, very strong. If you look at the 2020 season, it was really a very good season," he told RaceFans.

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"He has been even faster in qualifying which, I think if you look at the past years, he was not so fast in the qualifying. In 2020 he was very strong in qualifying as well.

“He is a very strong racer. I think he’s one of those drivers that is finishing races very often and normally in the race he is improving his position compared to the qualifying.”

For Sainz, Ferrari will be his fourth different team in just five seasons after Toro Rosso (2017), Renault (2017-18) and McLaren (2019-20), and Binotto cites that experience as potentially helpful to the Italian team making progress.

“He’s [had] many seasons now at different teams with different methodologies in terms of working with the engineers, approaching the set-up – so he will certainly bring us a different experience which we are, again, very open to hear, to listen and eventually to learn where possible," the Swiss chief explained.

“I’m expecting him to be a great teammate as well for Charles. I think that the two will find each other very well, as well.

"I’m expecting he’s a hard worker. I’m expecting he is a leader. I’m expecting him to help develop the team and the team become stronger in the future.

“And that’s already in 2021 – I don’t think we need to wait for 2022, I think 2021 is where already I am pretty sure we will get benefit from him joining Ferrari.”

Certainly, after Leclerc outscored Vettel by 65 points last year, the Ferrari chief expects Sainz to be closer to the Monegasque in the championship this year.

“It’s important to have two drivers which are delivering or doing very well in the race in order to do as many points as we can for the Constructors' title,” he said. “I know that by doing well in the Constructors' it means that the two drivers are doing well in terms of Drivers' classification.

“I’m hoping and I’m pretty sure that Carlos will help us in doing better in terms of Constructors' and overall as a team.”