It was supposed to be the big break into the upper echelons of the sport but even Ross Brawn has weighed in to cast doom on Carlos Sainz’s impending move to Ferrari as it’s results go from bad to worse ahead of its home race.

The Spaniard landed a dream drive with the Scuderia during the long lockdown hiatus as the 2021 F1 replacement for Sebastian Vettel, a move that should see him in the running for regular podiums and wins for the first time. 

However, on the back off Ferrari’s ‘worst result in 10 years’ at Spa-Francorchamps - the dismal continuation of broadly poor form in 2020 - Sainz faces seeing his dream become a nightmare, not least because the largely frozen regulations for 2021 gives the team little leeway in overhauling the flawed package.

Though Sainz himself is keeping his talk ‘present tense’ with McLaren for now, the forthcoming concern hasn’t escaped ex-Ferrari technical chief Brawn’s attention, admitting he must be privately ‘nervous’

“This has been a tough year for him, but he’s a pretty positive guy. He’s a very strong character, his career has been no easy ride after all. I’ve always rated him, I think he’s a great driver and he’ll manage this situation.

“But what looked like a dream move to Ferrari next year isn’t looking too good right now and inevitably, he must be nervous about his prospects next season.”

Reflecting on Ferrari’s ‘horrific’ 13th and 14th in Belgium - ahead of only three cars - Brawn raises the oft-mentioned engine changes the team were forced to make towards the end of 2019, a moment many have credited for the ensuing slump.

However, he says there is no doubt that change accounts for this level of performance, saying it is fundamental across all areas of the car.

“Regardless of what people say about the deficit they may have with the engine following the technical clarifications, you don’t lose 1.3s per lap from one year to next in that metric alone.

“They just couldn’t get the tyres in the zone. The fact it was colder at Spa would not have helped either.

“When that happens, the performance drops off and looks horrific. If they can make that step and get the tyres working properly again, I think the performance will snap back in. They still won’t look race-winning, but it will become more respectable.”

 

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