Carlos Sainz admits he’s in “two minds” about the risks of driving classic Formula 1 cars, having seen Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc crash a classic Niki Lauda 312B3 in Monaco.
Leclerc has recently got the chance to sample both Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari 312T and Lauda’s 312B3, driving the latter at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix last weekend.
But Leclerc crashed at La Rascasse when the car suffered a front-left brake disc failure, causing the pedal to go straight to the floor and leave him unable to avoid spinning into the barrier.
Leclerc’s test of Villeneuve’s car last month was far smoother as Ferrari marked 40 years since the Canadian was killed at Zolder with a special event at Fiorano.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he was eager to test a classic Ferrari like Leclerc in the near future, Sainz admitted he felt some uncertainty due to the risks involved, particularly at a time when Ferrari is proving competitive on-track in F1.
“I had the opportunity to [test classic cars] in the past, it gives you a vision of what was the sport a long time ago,” Sainz said. “But I’m in two minds with it, because why would you risk it first, like why?
“You’re in the middle of a Ferrari championship-winning chance, why would you risk having this situation like happened to him [Leclerc]? And at the same time, when else are you going to have this opportunity to drive these cars?
“Every time I jump in a classic Formula 1 car, I have these things in my head.”
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari 312 B3 after the crash
Photo by: ACM
Sainz explained that his natural instinct when jumping in any F1 car would be to push it to the very limit instead of simply driving it just to do laps at a casual pace.
‘If I’m jumping in a car, I’m going to push it,” Sainz said. “I don’t know how to jump in a car and put the elbow out and drive around [casually], I have no idea how to do this.
“I can only jump in and feel it and feel how this car’s felt. Every time I’m going to jump in, I’m going to push a car, and then these things can happen and leaves you with the other questions. So I don’t know what to answer.”
Leclerc explained after the brake failure caused his crash at Monaco that he felt “lucky to have it at that moment” at La Rascasse, saying he if he “had it at another place, it was no good” after being left powerless by the brake issue.