“Sainz-Leclerc? There is an obvious number 1”

The Red Bull consultant has clear ideas on the balance of power in the F1 2022 World Championship: Sainz will be Leclerc’s wingman, like Perez with Verstappen

Giulio Caronia

Exciting and spectacular, the duel between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc has all the credentials to keep us glued to the TV throughout the F1 2022 season. The overtaking and counter-overtaking seen between Sakhir and Jeddah are already a instant classic, which takes us back to the time when the two young phenomena played them with turns on karts. A battle which, at least as seen in the Bahrain GP and the Saudi Arabian GP, ​​however risks overshadowing the performances of the two teammates, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz. And if, for the Mexican of the Red Bull home, his role as wingman of the reigning champion has never been questioned, the scenario of expectations on the Spaniard from Ferrari, who in 2021 had managed to beat Leclerc in 2021, is different.


Even for the Maranello team, however, there will not be a dualism inside the garage, but a clear captain and a second driver destined to assist him. At least this is the opinion of Helmut Marko, Red Bull executive, great head of the Academy for young drivers and right-hand man of the patron Dietrich Mateschitz. “Last year – the 78-year-old former driver explained to the Austrian broadcaster Servus TV – Carlos defeated Leclerc, but this year Charles is in great shape. This means we can’t expect any help from Sainz, as it’s clear their situation is pretty much the same as we do, with an obvious number one in the box. The fight for the title? I think we are in a good position, but we have a Ferrari that is practically at our level. And Leclerc is driving flawlessly. It will be an exciting season ”.


Perhaps it will also be a way to destabilize the rival environment, but the reference to Sainz’s possible help at Red Bull is clear: if the two Ferrari drivers were free to compete against each other they would end up stealing each other’s positions, at benefit of the Milton Keynes team especially in a race for the Drivers’ title that promises to be fought for every single point at stake. And Helmut Marko, who as head of the Junior Team can be considered among the discoverers of Carlos (at his F1 debut with Toro Rosso), knows well what it means to run a season with a single designated point: just Perez, thanks to the big one. performance difference from Verstappen, in 2021 he was immediately deployed in support of the Dutchman, able to win the title also thanks to Checo’s obstructive maneuvers on rival Lewis Hamilton.

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