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Formula 1 Australian GP

Sainz details 2023 F1 car problems after Ferrari analysis

Carlos Sainz has outlined the specific problems hurting Ferrari’s early 2023 Formula 1 form, after the Italian squad conducted a detailed analysis of its poor Bahrain and Saudi Arabia showings.

Sparks trail from Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

After winning two of the opening three races in 2022 before going on to be well beaten by Red Bull in that campaign, Ferrari’s 2023 season has started badly in comparison – with Sainz’s fourth place at the Bahrain season-opener the team’s best result so far.

It currently sits fourth in the constructors’ standings – behind Aston Martin and Mercedes in trailing Red Bull – and has encountered the worst reliability headaches of any of the leading squads.

Ferrari’s poor start to 2023 follows its decision to alter the SF-23’s aerodynamic profile in a bid to match Red Bull’s straight-line prowess, which its F1-75 2022 car could not in the first season of F1’s new ground effects era.

But this has come at the expense of peak downforce levels on the SF-23, and so it consequentially struggles more in the corners compared to its predecessor.

When asked to explain what he and team-mate Charles Leclerc are feeling behind the wheel regarding Ferrari’s early 2023 issues by Autosport, Sainz replied: “Honestly our analysis from the first few races is [that] there’s no fundamental issue with the car, it’s just a very peaky car – a very unpredictable car in the race.

“[It] eats the tyres quite a lot. So, it’s just [that] we need to improve our package.

“It’s just too peaky and we need to find a way to calm it down a bit, which is what also makes the car difficult in the race.

“The good thing is that everyone knows it. We know it in the track, they know it in Maranello and the good thing is that Ferrari has this man power, this capacity to react.

“If we all push in the same direction, I’m convinced this team can turn it around. Not in a short period of time, but in a medium period of time.”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Ferrari

Sainz also said he was “just waiting to see if the upgrades improve the feeling” of the SF-23 – particularly concerning the tyre degradation struggles it rather starkly displayed compared to its opposition in the Bahrain and Jeddah races.

“[Upgrades would hopefully] improve how we are able to race with the car because at the moment we are very limited – we cannot race people too much because the car is difficult in dirty air,” Sainz added, speaking in the Albert Park paddock ahead of the Australian GP.

“We eat the tyres so it doesn’t allow you to push in the race to overtake people or we need to tyre manage a lot.

“This means in the race you are a bit stuck – you cannot play around too much.

“We know exactly where our weakness is and hopefully this will improve and allow us a bit more flexibility.”

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Although Sainz currently leads Leclerc 20-6 in points accrued in 2023 – they are currently fourth and eighth respectively in the drivers’ standings – he has failed to match the Monegasque’s qualifying speed and results in the only area it seems where Ferrari can really bother Red Bull.

This has evoked memories of Sainz’s tricky time getting up to speed with the F1-75 a year ago, but he insisted the situations are in fact not comparable.

“In a way, I miss 2022 because at least we knew I had a car under my belt that was able to win races and pole positions,” he explained. “This year, the feeling of the car is a bit better – especially in the races.

“I’m not struggling with anything in particular on the driving side, it’s that I haven’t put together any good laps yet, any good qualifying laps.

“I haven’t done a good job in quali. The races, I’ve done pretty much what the car can do right now, which is not a lot.”

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