A freak injury while playing football in a charity match might rob Carlos Sainz of the opportunity to feature at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver was one of many F1 drivers to take part in the event, including his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly.
Sainz sustained what appeared to be a muscle injury on his right thigh and was seen receiving treatment on the sidelines after getting substituted after the hour mark in the game.
He wore a worried look as the prospect of missing out on his main job appeared to be a realistic possibility.
If Sainz is unable to recover by Friday, it could mean an F1 return for Antonio Giovinazzi or a debut for Robert Schwartzman depending on Ferrari’s choice.
👀 ¡VENDAJE para CARLOS SAINZ! 👀— El Chiringuito TV (@elchiringuitotv) May 23, 2023
🦵 Problemas físicos durante el partido benéfico en Mónaco… ¿duda para el Gran Premio del domingo? pic.twitter.com/IkU4t3x8N3
The football match was hosted by the Children Sports Association where F1 drivers and other personnel play against a ‘Star’ team. Even F1 president Stefano Domenicali featured!
In terms of his footballing prowess, Sainz showed some decent talent as he burst down the wing and crossed a delicious ball to Charles Leclerc, only for the Monegasque to make a hash of it and shoot straight at the goalkeeper.
While Sainz’ long-term future at Ferrari is still not clear amidst growing interest from Audi to sign either him or recently-retired driver Sebastian Vettel, he is still under pressure at the Maranello.
Lewis Hamilton was recently linked with a move to Ferrari amidst an underwhelming season at Mercedes, but Sainz knows that thinking too far ahead is never helpful.
“I know there’s still two very important years ahead of us,” he said.
“I think further than that would be stupid to talk about.
“But, I feel I still have yet to achieve my full potential as a driver. And I feel like at least here I’ve already done another good step in the right direction.
“My immediate future, I only see it with Ferrari and wanting to be successful with this team. There’s nothing that would make me happier than winning again with Ferrari, than mounting a title challenge with Ferrari.
“If you win it or not, it’s a championship fight. You can come out on top or not. But mounting that challenge is short- and medium-term what really motivates me.