Sainz: Upgrades could 'completely change' Ferrari season


Carlos Sainz says updates that are hopefully forthcoming could solve Ferrari's current weakness and "completely change" its season.

The Italian outfit was hoping that its disappointing opening display in Bahrain had been track-specific, but last weekend's performance in Jeddah clearly showed that the Scuderia has lost significant ground this season to Red Bull.

Although Charles Leclerc qualified well in Saudi Arabia, conceding just 0.155s to poleman Sergio Perez in Q3, Sunday's race saw both Ferrari cars struggle for pace and suffer from tyre degradation in their second stint on the hard compound rubber.

"The last stint on the hard proves that we are not where we want to be, that we still deg more than the Mercs, that we still deg more than the Astons, and we lack a bit of race pace," admitted Sainz.

"A bit surprised because after Friday and before the weekend I thought we had a chance to be the second force here in Jeddah, but I think that second stint on the hard proves we still have a lot of work to do.

"That we have a weakness in the race, that we need to wait for developments to come to see if we can improve that weakness."


Degradation and overheating tyres were a familiar theme last year, but this season's issue has led to Ferrari's SF-23 "eating its tyres alive" on race day according to Sainz.

"We need clean air to produce some kind of decent lap times," he added. "We know exactly our weaknesses. This is a positive.

"Obviously we cannot do magic to bring the developments early, but I know the team is pushing flat out to bring them and this will improve our race pace for sure."

Despite the early underperformance, Sainz is encouraged by the fact that Ferrari has a clear picture of where it needs to improve. As for how the team can move forward in the coming months, the Spaniard is confident that the team's development plan will solve the Sf-23's embedded weakness.

"We know where it is, we identified it already in Bahrain," he explained.

"The thing is that the car is doing exactly the same as in the wind tunnel, so we know where the weakness is in the wind tunnel [and] where the weakness is here.

"We know where to develop the car, we just need time because from the weakness that we saw in Bahrain and we see here, obviously we cannot bring the upgrades as soon as tomorrow.

"But I'm positive that this team is capable of bringing them early in the season, and this could change completely our season, so heads down and time to work hard."

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