Carlos Sainz could test a 2018 Formula 1 car to help his preparation for his first season at Ferrari due to a lack of pre-season testing next year.

2021’s pre-season testing programme - which is expected to be held in Bahrain - has been cut back to just one single three-day test with teams carrying over their current cars into next year as part of a series of cost-saving measures introduced to combat the financial hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With Sainz among a number of drivers switching teams during the winter, the Spaniard will have far less time to get up to speed with his new surroundings and adjust to Ferrari’s equipment ahead of his maiden campaign with the Scuderia.

Teams are however permitted to conduct as much running as they wish with 2018-spec cars, something which Renault and Fernando Alonso have taken advantage of ahead of the two-time world champion’s return to the sport.

Sainz admitted a similar test outing in Ferrari’s 2018 SF71H could be an option for him following his move from McLaren.

"Once I leave McLaren to be a Ferrari driver, there would be a lot of thinking behind the scenes to make sure I arrive to the test and to the first race as prepared as possible,” Sainz said.

"Obviously that [testing a 2018 car] could be an option, but I remain committed to McLaren and I don't want to get distracted too much by what the future of January, February and March might bring.

“I can already tell you that one day and a half in a Formula 1 car, in these complex Formula 1 cars, is not enough to prepare a Formula 1 season. You don’t get to know the tricks of the car, the steering wheel, even though you do a lot of simulator. To get to know the crew, everyone, one day and a half is just very, very little and probably not enough.

“But it’s what it is so we will have to adapt and we will need to find a way to make sure we are as prepared as possible within the limits of one day and a half.”

Sainz said he was “very encouraged” to see the improvements Ferrari has made in recent races following the introduction of a series of successful upgrades to its troubled SF1000.

“It’s been a good few months for them,” Sainz explained. “I think they’ve demonstrated they’ve probably found a bit the issues they had at the beginning of the year. They probably were the ones especially not happy about it and they’ve shown good character turning the season around.

“I’m encouraged to see that and I can’t wait to find out what and why they’ve changed that. But there’s a few races left still with McLaren and plenty to do here still.”

 

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