The Spaniard had hoped to extend his Ferrari contract beyond the end of this year, having set a target of getting it sorted before the campaign got underway at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

But developments took an unexpected turn when Ferrari instead swooped for seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to become Charles Leclerc‘s team-mate from 2025.

The decision means Sainz knows he is now preparing for his final season as a Ferrari driver, and needs to find a seat elsewhere for next year if he is to remain on the grid.

Speaking at a karting event at the Cremona circuit in Italy, where he presented the new CS55 kart line, Sainz said the situation that played out at Ferrari was not ideal – but vowed it would not impact his focus on delivering this season.

“It’s certainly not the best feeling to start the season,” he told Sky Italia. “But the moment I put on the helmet in Bahrain and take to the track, the only sensation I’ll feel will be the desire to go faster and faster – and also aiming for victory in the world championship.”

Sainz was clear, however, that he was not too downbeat about things and explained that, knowing how Ferrari operated from the inside, he had been braced for the possibility of some surprise happening.

“I’m fine, don’t worry,” he smiled. “I’m not disappointed. Experiencing Ferrari from the inside I already knew several things and I prepared myself with the team in view of future changes.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, talk after the race

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“As I said, however, I don’t want to think about anything other than giving my all in the season that awaits me with Ferrari.

“I’m calm. We know that we have a very important season ahead of us. “This will be my last year in Ferrari, so I want to do the best I can: I’m also training with the karts to give my best when I’m on the track.”

Sainz has been linked with several drives elsewhere, with the most likely destination for him being a switch to Sauber which will become the Audi team in 2026.

While nothing has been settled yet, Sainz insisted he is not worried about finding himself without a seat.

“I am aware of how much I am worth as a driver,” he said. “For this reason, when I look to the future, I am very calm. Good things will definitely come, but for now my goal is to give my best with Ferrari.”

He added: “In my career I have always made steps forward. Improving more every year. This has always been and always will be my philosophy, and it will be the same this year. In 2024, I will turn 30 but I feel younger and more motivated than ever.”

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