Sainz makes his Ferrari debut, Leclerc completes seat-fitting

By on

Carlos Sainz completed an emotional day today as he drove a Ferrari Formula One car for the very first time in his career. In the meantime, his new team mate Charles Leclerc performed a seat fit in Scuderia’s 2021 challenger.

Ferrari continued its intensive test programme that began on Monday. Today saw the team’s new driver Carlos Sainz make his debut in a Ferrari F1 single-seater. The Spaniard rolled out of the garage at the Fiorano track at 9.30. The 26-year-old Spaniard drove the team’s 2018 F1 car, the SF71H which sported his usual F1 number 55.

The two-time podium finisher completed more than a hundred laps on his maiden outing with the Scuderia and worked with engineers to get acquainted with the car procedures, many of which will also be relevant to this year’s SF21.

The young Spaniard’s first day in red was closely monitored by his father, Carlos Sainz Senior, who was present to witness his son’s first laps in a Ferrari F1 car.

"A day I will never forget! This morning, the alarm went off at dawn because we had some very early meetings before going out on track. One of the most special moments for me today was when I arrived at the circuit and I saw the Ferrari with my number 55 on it! I was eager to jump in the car and that first installation lap was exciting.

Sainz will be Ferrari”s third driver from Spain. Fernando Alonso raced for five seasons for the Maranello squad while the Marquis Alfonso de Portago raced in five GPs for Ferrari. The Scuderia has also had two Spanish test drivers: Pedro de la Rosa and Marc Gené.

“Then we got down to work, and I am very pleased with how the day unfolded,” Sainz continued. “We were able to get through an extensive programme, and I was able to familiarise myself with the whole setup: the engineers and mechanics, the steering wheel, the procedures which are obviously a bit different to those on the car I drove last season.

“It was very nice to have my father there at such an important moment in my career. And I’d like to thank Mattia, Laurent and everyone at Ferrari for such a warm welcome and such a positive first day in the 2018 car. I am very happy and could not have wished for a better start,” he concluded.

After racking up over 100 laps himself around the Fiorano test track yesterday, Charles Leclerc was at the scene when his new team mate Sainz rolled out of the garage in the morning. The Monegasque followed the Spaniard’s first laps before he headed back to the Scuderia’s Vehicle Assembly department for a seat fitting for the 2021 car.

Tomorrow will see Ferrari continue its unique test programme at Fiorano. In the morning, Sainz will get behind the wheel of the SF71H to continue his integration into the team before he hands over his car to Mick Schumacher, who will drive the car in the afternoon.