While Ferrari is known for its pressure on drivers and the team, its drivers have actually have had long stints in the team since 1996.
Ferrari’s newest driver, Carlos Sainz Jr has revealed that the Italian team is misunderstood and doesn’t “devour” its drivers. Ferrari is F1’s most iconic team but it also has a legacy of propagating a pressure cooker like environment which can be due to the fact that it is the only “national” team of sorts on the F1 grid. The iconic nature of the Ferrari brand which is synonymous with F1 is also considered to be the reason for this. Many have claimed this cocktail was one of the reasons for the capitulation of Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari in the last three seasons. But Sainz disagrees with this notion.
“Ferrari is not a team that eats and devours its drivers,” Sainz argued. “If you see Vettel’s career… what driver wouldn’t have wanted to spend five years at Ferrari like he has been? The longest I’ve been in a team is two years, so if Ferrari is a team that devours drivers, what are Renault, Toro Rosso and all the others?,” argued the Spaniard.
Sainz joins Ferrari from McLaren where he enjoyed a very healthy and comic partnership with Lando Norris which culminated in two very successful seasons. In 2020, McLaren came third in the constructors for the first time since 2012 and is set for even greater things in the coming years with new investment flowing into the company and the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo and the Mercedes power unit which has been McLaren’s main problem in the hybrid era of F1.
“Alonso also spent five years at Ferrari. That doesn’t seem like a team that devours drivers, but cycles. Of course, I want to have a cycle at Ferrari, create a similar environment [to McLaren] there. I already have experience in creating a works team, and I hope I have a team equal, similar or better than the one I have at McLaren. I’m going to do my best to have it,” Sainz added, stating that two world champions spent long stints at Ferrari before leaving.
Sainz has a point here as even before Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen has combined been at Ferrari for 8 years, across two stints where he was dropped for Alonso and then came back to partner him in 2014. Even Felippe Massa had a long haul at Ferrari where he was with the team for 8 years.
Apart from this Michael Schumacher’s legendary decade long stint can’t be forgotten as he during his time the team won 6 constructors titles and 5 world titles. His two teammates before Massa, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello stayed with the team for 4 and 5 years respectively.
While Ferrari is known for its pressure on drivers and the team, its drivers have actually have had long stints in the team since 1996. Ferrari has been excellent at maintaining driver stability in the last two decades.