Carlos Sainz has revealed McLaren’s Formula 1 management congratulated him over sealing his Ferrari move for 2021. 

Sainz will move to Ferrari on a two-year deal beginning next season to replace Sebastian Vettel, who is leaving the Scuderia after contract talks broke down, while McLaren swiftly moved to sign Daniel Ricciardo from midfield rivals Renault as Sainz’s successor. 

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the official Formula 1 website, Sainz explained that McLaren’s chiefs were “disappointed and understanding” about his decision to leave for Ferrari. 

“They needed to have clarity from me in case they needed a replacement,” he said. 

“Immediately they [said]: 'Carlos please let us know if this is a serious thing because we obviously cannot be left behind - if we are going to go into a market we need to know as soon as possible.’

"And at that point, the clarity and everything, we were all a bit rushed into trying to make the decisions as quick as possible [for] the benefit of everyone involved.

"The reaction [was] very simple. They were happy for me. They congratulated me and they said: 'Look, Carlos, you deserve it and I'm sure you will do great there', and that confidence boost is always nice to hear from your bosses.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown insisted there was no “bad blood” during the split after the Woking outfit had given Sainz permission to speak to Ferrari over the winter, and the Spaniard said he is “incredibly proud” of how the process was handled. 

"[I'm] not going to give you an exact date, but I'm going to tell you [talks with Ferrari started in the] winter between 2019 and 2020," Sainz explained. 

"Believe me, the moment I heard that, I went and asked permission [from] Zak, to go and talk to them in a more serious way, without knowing what Zak's reaction was going to be.

"He immediately came to me and said: 'Look, it's an opportunity, go and talk to them and see what they're about. My Dad, cousin, manager took care of the most important bits.

"But then I was on the phone with Mattia [Binotto, Ferrari team boss] now and then, on the phone with Zak constantly, on the phone with Andreas [Seidl, McLaren team principal].

"[There were] a few Zoom meetings of course, like everyone, but for me the key of this process has been the clarity and the openness of all parties involved to make it happen.

"And just [not having] any awkward 'around the back' situations. That makes me incredibly proud and the way it has all been managed makes me feel very happy and very thankful to Zak and his team."

 

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