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Sainz coy on rumoured crash in Jerez 18-inch F1 tyre test

Carlos Sainz remained coy over speculation he crashed while Pirelli's prototype 18-inch Formula 1 tyres for 2022 at Jerez earlier this week with Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari

After making his first appearance behind the wheel of a Ferrari in a private test at Fiorano at the end of January, Sainz featured for the team in Pirelli's first development running of the year earlier this week.

Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc shared duties in a 2019-spec 'mule' car, allowing Pirelli to gather data using prototype 18-inch tyres ahead of the switch planned for next year.

Pirelli said after the test that Sainz and Leclerc had completed more than 300 laps over three days, but it was rumoured that Sainz had crashed at one stage.

Asked during Ferrari's team launch on Friday about the test and if he had crashed, Sainz remained coy, saying details from the running had to remain private.

"Obviously Pirelli testing is completely private," Sainz said.

"So honestly, answering questions that are coming from somewhere else is difficult for me. I don't know how much we can tell contractually about what happened in the test.

"But if something happened that I'm not going to tell you, it was very minor."

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F1 will ditch its long-serving 13-inch wheels by switching to 18-inch designs in 2022, coinciding with the introduction of the new car designs after an overhaul of the technical regulations.

Sainz said the first signs he got from the test were "relatively positive", but was cautious given the difference between the mule car used and next year's final design.

"You can definitely start to feel some differences and there's definitely some things still to keep developing, but the first signs and the first feeling has been relatively positive," Sainz said.

"We need to wait until you fit those tyres into the next year's car, which is going to be quite a completely different animal. But the first impressions with a mule car has been positive."

Leclerc echoed Sainz's thoughts on the new tyres, saying: "We tried different things and to be honest, there are some positive things that came out of it. So, this is good.

"I believe that there's still quite a bit of work, but it went in the right direction and this is a good thing."

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