Carlos Sainz believes that contract talks with Ferrari “shouldn’t be too much of a problem”, revealing that negotiations should commence over the upcoming winter period.

Having elected to trade McLaren for Ferrari in 2021, Sainz enjoyed an encouraging debut season in red, scoring four podiums to place a career-best fifth in the Drivers’ standings.

Whilst he regularly trailed Charles Leclerc as Ferrari returned to title contention in the early stages of 2022, Sainz notched his maiden pole position and race victory at Silverstone.

However, Ferrari’s attempts to mount a sustained challenge for the championship this year have been stymied by an unpredictable car and Red Bull’s dominance.

Despite the Italian marque slipping to third in the Constructors’ table, Sainz has praised Ferrari for the turnaround that enabled him to score victory in Singapore last month.

I think it’s been a decent season overall,” Sainz said ahead of the United States Grand Prix. “I was feeling good with the car straight away from the beginning of the season.

“Then, going through this first phase of the year, where we were trying to understand where we were, why we were suddenly half a second off Red Bull. Why at other circuits we were nearly on pole. I think understanding what was going on and what had Red Bull done to all of us, which was to, all of a sudden, dominate the way they were doing.

“First part was obviously a bit under expectations, but then we put our heads down and we started working well, and we nailed the opportunity when it came in Singapore,” he added. “And I think that means a lot for us this year.”

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.

Sainz penned a two-year extension early last year, ensuring that both Ferrari drivers were tied down through to the end of 2024.

Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur has repeatedly insisted that discussions over driver contracts will not take priority over improving the side’s on-track fortunes.

The Spaniard has concurred with Vasseur by agreeing that talks will only occur once the campaign has concluded next month.

Despite being linked with a potential switch to Sauber ahead of its transition into a works Audi entry from 2026, Sainz relays that his current priority is to remain with Ferrari.

“Where I’m at is that I’m comfortable,” Sainz addressed. “I’m happy in Ferrari. I trust the team. I see positive steps being taken in the right direction. I see a committed team working in the right direction.

“And I’ve always said, I’m happy here and that the winter was going to be a good time to sit down and see if we can come to an agreement for the future.

“Which, if they’re happy with me, and I’m happy with them, shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

“And yeah, it’s hopefully going to happen this winter. And if not, it will drag [on] for longer. But let’s see.”

Sainz profited from Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification post-race at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday to be promoted to third, scoring his third podium of the year.

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