Charles Leclerc does not sound keen to lose his current Ferrari teammate.
Rumours in Italy over the past several days have indicated that Leclerc, whose current contract runs out in 2024, has now signed up for at least 2025 and 2026.
However, the rumours swirling around Sainz – with a similarly-expiring deal – are linking him with Audi’s 2026 project.
The 28-year-old Spaniard’s entourage played that speculation down to an Italian publication on Monday, insisting his “plan A, plan B and plan C” is a new contract with the Maranello-based team.
Leclerc, meanwhile, was asked about Sainz in a new interview with Corriere dello Sport newspaper.
“I can work well with Carlos,” he said, “even if there is a lot of competition between us.”
When asked to name Sainz’s strengths, the 25-year-old from Monaco added: “His work ethic and perseverance.”
But Leclerc makes clear that his real priority is to get a faster Ferrari at his disposal.
“We cannot settle for being second or third,” he said after finishing third recently at Spa-Francorchamps. “We must win and we have to make that feasible.
“Podiums are nice, but I haven’t really enjoyed them,” Leclerc confessed.
Former F1 team owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi admitted that it is a frustrating time for Italian fans like him.
“The same group of people has produced a car with obvious limitations,” he told La Repubblica.
“Maranello has endured too many seasons of stagnation. It seems impossible to me that with so many resources they can’t come up with internal solutions. Unfortunately, we’re all having to keep waiting.”