Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have struggled this season with their SF-23 car, particularly in races where they have lacked consistency. Despite showing promise in qualifying, they have been unable to challenge Red Bull on race days. Sainz believes that there were already concerns about the car’s race pace last year, citing races in Budapest and Austin where they fell behind Red Bull after starting on pole. While there has been some progress in recent weeks, Ferrari is not yet confident it has fully addressed the issues at play.
Sainz explains that the doubts about the car’s race-pace consistency arose last year, after Ferrari had already committed to the design of the SF-23 for this season. The weaknesses of the car were baked into its design, as Ferrari had no way of knowing how the second half of the season would unfold. Sainz reflects on the timing of the car’s development, stating that it was born during a period when Ferrari was still competitive. The team’s strong performance in the early races might have influenced their trust in the car’s concept.
Sainz acknowledges that he struggled to get comfortable with the 2022 car initially, but he has gained a better understanding of it this year, despite its lack of competitiveness compared to other teams. However, he admits that the SF-23 does not inspire confidence when pushed to the limit. He describes it as a difficult car to drive and not one that he can drive to the limit comfortably. Nonetheless, Sainz is proud of his performance in the car and is determined to improve and push forward rather than looking backward.
Ferrari went through a management change this season, with Mattia Binotto stepping down as team principal and Fred Vasseur taking his place. There were concerns about losing technical continuity with Binotto’s departure, as he had a deep understanding of the car’s design. Sainz cannot say for certain if Binotto’s exit had an impact on the team, but he believes that all the changes made are for the better and will eventually pay off. He expresses confidence in Vasseur’s leadership and says that the team is starting to see progress, despite recent difficulties in races.
Overall, Ferrari is working hard to address the challenges they face with the SF-23 car. Sainz believes that they are making progress and will eventually find the solutions needed to improve their performance. He trusts in Vasseur and his direction for the team, and looks forward to more positive weekends that will provide proof of their improvements. Sainz acknowledges that it’s not easy to show progress when faced with tough races, but he remains optimistic about Ferrari‘s future in Formula 1.