Sainz: Ferrari pace a sign 'someone out there is doing a bit better'


Carlos Sainz says Ferrari has improved its performance year-over-year, but in relative terms other teams have done 'a bit better'.

By its own standards, the start of Ferrari's 2023 season has been disappointing.

While qualifying well in Bahrain and in Jeddah, there was no denying the Scuderia's weaker race pace relative to Red Bull and even to Aston Martin, while a succession of reliability issues for Charles Leclerc was also a cause for concern.

The Italian outfit is obviously not where it wants or needs to be, and the team must now develop its way closer to Red bull, the class of the field so far this year in F1.


"I think it’s simply a sign that there’s someone out there just doing a bit of a better job than us and that we need to raise the bar," said Sainz, commenting on his outfit's overall performance level.

"But while we are raising the bar every year and becoming a stronger team, the others are doing the same.

"It’s not only how much you can progress from one year to another, it’s how much you can progress relative to the rest of the field.

"And I’ve been in Ferrari three years and the progress I’ve seen inside the team from 2021 to 2023 is huge.

"It’s just so far it hasn’t been enough to beat either Red Bull or Mercedes. 2021, we were P3, last year we were P2.

"And now, obviously, the start of the season has been tough and we’ve faced issues with race pace and reliability that we honestly didn’t expect to face and it caught us a bit out of guard, but we’re putting everything in place to make sure it doesn’t happen.

"And I think the right exam has to be done a bit more later in the year and towards the end of the year, because also one other area where I think it’s important is development and the capacity to improve the mistakes that you do," he added.

"I think we’re going to do a good job this year on development, that we have a very clear target of what we need to improve from the car."

However, improving, even significantly, won't deliver race wins to Ferrari if reliability is not rock solid.

Leclerc's control electronics issues led to a grid penalty for the Monegasque, while Ferrari undertook in Jeddah precautionary ICE changes on both its cars. The events have unsurprisingly instilled a sense of worry in the team.

"For sure we are relatively concerned," admitted the Spaniard.

"It’s not the way you want to start a season with a penalty in race two, and break in the battery, the ECU in the first weekend and clearly we are not happy with that.

"We identified the weakness but this is the first time we’ve seen this failure in a very, very long time so it caught us by surprise.

"We’re putting things in place to fix it and I’m pretty sure that we are capable of fixing that in the short term.

"So yeah, it’s a bad, bad situation but now we can only look forward and improve it."

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