Carlos Sainz is looking forward to his second trip to Monza driving for Ferrari, which the Spaniard describes as “a dream come true for every kid”.
Sainz finished sixth at last year’s Italian Grand Prix while team-mate Charles Leclerc finished fourth as Ferrari had a tough 2021 in which they struggled in midfield for most of the season.
This year, however, the Italian racing giants have enjoyed a rise to the front of the field, making preparations for the weekend and the prospect of victory on home soil all the more exciting.
“This year we’re lucky to have a competitive car and we can have a competitive Ferrari at Monza,” said Sainz Formula1.com. “It’s going to be something special. That winning feeling there – Charles had it in 2019.
“I haven’t experienced anything like this before, but last year was super exciting and one of the best weekends.
“I’ve watched Formula 1 since I was a child, I’ve watched Ferrari, I’ve watched Monza and I said that being a Ferrari driver at Monza must be the best feeling.”
The Tifosi in Monza are among the most passionate fans in all of motorsport and have celebrated a home win a total of nineteen times, most recently at Leclerc in 2019.
During Schumacher’s dominance of the sport in the early 2000s, a Ferrari win on home soil was something of a given, as they won it seven times over a 10-year period from 1996 to 2006.
Since then, a Ferrari driver on the top step of the Monza podium has been somewhat of a rarity. Fans have had to wait an exhausting nine years for Leclerc’s triumph after Fernando Alonso last won there in red in 2010.
“Being a McLaren driver at Silverstone was nice, but being a Ferrari driver at Monza I don’t want to compare because it’s not fair, but everyone knows how passionate people are in Italy and what Ferrari means in Italy.” continued Sainz.
“It’s something that’s so big, that’s hard to explain, hard to understand even for me at times, how they can be so passionate, so involved with the team and how the team works, changes their mood so much.
“I find it a bit odd how you can affect someone’s life so much just by saying hello, put a smile on their face, by taking a picture showing how their day is going. I’m still a normal guy going through life pretty normal – I don’t feel like a hero or special person at all.”
Sainz came close to victory at Monza in 2020 driving for McLaren but fell behind and settled for second place as Pierre Gasly took the first win of his career.
The only racing success Sainz has experienced at the legendary Italian circuit was in the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 series, where the Spaniard went on to win the championship.
Nevertheless, the circuit stands out as one of his favourites: “For me, Monza has been one of my favorite circuits since I’ve been driving single-seaters.
“Ever since I did my first lap at Monza, I’ve found it to be one of the most challenging but also one of the most fun tracks on the calendar because there’s that combination of big braking zones that I’ve always loved.
“The car is not behaving as usual with the lower downforce and has some of the best corners in F1 – Ascari and Parabolica. Those two corners are just incredible.”