Carlos Sainz was forced to retire at the Australian Grand Prix, but he has performed admirably in the early part of the 2022 season and finds himself in third position in the drivers’ standings.
While this is a huge improvement on his performance last year, former Ferrari driver Ralf Schumacher believes that Sainz is far from happy at the team.
Schumacher believes that Ferrari blatantly prioritising Charles Leclerc, who has already opened up a sizeable lead at the top of the table, has had a direct effect on Sainz.
Sainz joined Ferrari last year on the back of two campaigns at McLaren. He managed to pick up four podiums last term and saw himself placed fifth in the eventual standings.
Even though he has shown considerable improvement this year, Leclerc already has a 38-point lead at the top of the table.
Ralf Schumacher believes Sainz is frustrated at Ferrari due to the obvious hierarchy the team has in place with respect to its drivers.
“The pecking order at Ferrari is already established,” Schumacher said.
“Carlos Sainz knows that too and is correspondingly angry and discontent. There was a time when someone (his brother, Michael) was very successful and it was also the case that you knew relatively early on which driver you were concentrating on.”
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According to Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto, though, that is not the case and both drivers are free to compete against each other as hard as they like.
“It’s only three races which have been done now,” he said.
“There are still 20 races left, hopefully 19 or 20. So the championship is still very long. Our drivers are free to fight, and I am really looking forward and enjoying that they are battling for a good place, and first place, if possible.”
Ferrari has already established its credentials as the team to beat this season, especially on the back of Red Bull’s reliability troubles.
Reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen was far from happy with his team.
“We are already miles behind,” he said.
“I don’t even want to think about the championship fight at the moment, I think it is more important to finish races.
“We didn’t even finish the race so it’s pretty frustrating and unacceptable. These kinds of things, if you want to fight for the title, cannot happen.”