Mattia Binotto says that Carlos Sainz needs to “get used to” driving a front-running car, after a mistake-strewn last couple of races in Australia and Imola, in a period which included a multi-year contract extension.

Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc leads the way in the driver’s championship after four Grands Prix so far this season, with the Spaniard in P5 – 48 points behind – after retiring from both the Australian and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix in the gravel trap.

Team Principal Binotto however insists that his Imola woes, including a crash at Ravazza in Qualifying, in particular were purely down to luck. “Imola was, I suppose, unlucky and that will happen and I think as well there is always statistics, and when it is already two times in a row that [Sainz has had], let me say, a mistake or bad luck not happening anymore in the future, I think we should simply try to take off some pressure from that and not think about it and look forward with a smile and heads up,” he stated.

“I am pretty sure these guys are strong drivers and know what to do. They will do very well, so I am not concerned at all and I don’t think there is anything [for me] to do because it is only things that may happen and that’s it.”

Binotto also assures that there are no underlying issues with the car, or with Sainz himself, but admits that he “needs to adapt” and “manage the pressure” of a front-running F1 drive. “I don’t think that there are issues,” he said. “Certainly, he needs to adapt by seeing that he has done a couple of mistakes, which are important.

“But nevertheless, I think that he is improving himself, he is going faster and faster. It’s a shame because when he went off [in qualifying in Imola], I think it was not the right time to push to the limits. He knows very well, I think that’s a matter of managing the pressure. It’s maybe the first time in his career that he’s got a car which is fast enough to compete for the best positions, and he simply needs to get used to that – but he will do it very quickly, because I know how smart and how capable he is to manage the pressure,” summed up Binotto.

Prior to the Imola weekend, Ferrari announced Sainz to continue with them alongside Leclerc. When asked about it, Binotto stated that it cements and stabilises Ferrari’s “foundation” line-up through until 2024.

“I think because, at first, we are very happy with him: the way that he has integrated into the team; the way that he’s performing, and I think simply that he is matching the expectations,” said Binotto. “And after that, we started this experience with him… I think we are very, very happy and it was the right moment to look ahead, to look further and I think that by renewing and extending is like giving the right stability to the team as well.

“We know that our drivers are confirmed to the end of 2024, and we can build on it. I think, as Ferrari, we are really… our main objective is to try to really create the foundation for the future. And together with that line-up, I think it’s the best we can do,” summed up Binotto.

Ferrari junior and current Haas F1 driver Mick Schumacher added his thoughts on Sainz’s deal which officially curtails the German’s Ferrari promotion chances for a few more seasons. “I think it’s the obvious step for Ferrari,” he said.

“They have two great drivers, and Carlos obviously had a great season last year and also had a pretty good few races this year. So yeah, it was clear. For me, it doesn’t really change much as my job is to do my best here now, and that’s with Haas right now.”

Here’s Mattia Binotto on Robert Shwartzman’s license

Here’s Ferrari testing 2023 Pirelli tyres

Here’s Charles Leclerc, Mattia Binotto on Imola

Here’s Carlos Sainz appreciating Daniel Ricciardo’s apology