Sainz: Ferrari fixing "bad situation" with early 2023 F1 engine problems

Carlos Sainz says Ferrari is enduring a “bad situation” regarding reliability of its 2023 Formula 1 engine, but says the team is implementing fixes following Charles Leclerc’s Bahrain retirement.

Sainz: Ferrari fixing "bad situation" with early 2023 F1 engine problems

Leclerc dopped out of the season opener while running third behind the dominant Red Bull cars, having taken fresh control electronics and energy store engine parts ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ferrari opted to fit a third control electronics part for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian event and Leclerc will take a 10-place grid penalty in Jeddah for already exceeding the season limit of two allowances of that part.

That decision leaves Sainz as Ferrari’s best hope to battle Red Bull at the high-speed track that should, in theory, suit the SF-23’s reconfigured aerodynamic concept aimed at boosting straight line efficiency.

But even if Sainz can keep pace with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez on Sunday, there will be significant focus on whether his engine will last the distance – a situation he said Ferrari is “relatively concerned” about.

“It’s not the way you want to start a season – with a penalty in race two,” Sainz explained in the pre-event press conference in Jeddah. 

“Breaking the battery, the ECU, in the first weekend, clearly we are not happy with that and we identified it as a weakness.

“But it’s 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, it’s a bad situation but now we can only look forwards and improve it and make sure that we are also more competitive this weekend.”

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

When asked if Ferrari was expecting to be in the podium battle this weekend, Sainz replied: “I want to think so, yeah.

“The track is completely different to Bahrain. The [asphalt], the high-speed nature, the wing level that we will run – everything is just a bit different compared to Bahrain. I have the feeling that we’re going to be a bit more competitive.

“Enough to beat the Red Bulls? Given how competitive and how strong they were in Bahrain, it’s going to be extremely difficult.

“But I want to be more optimistic after Bahrain and feel like this weekend we have a good chance to get back on the podium.”

Read Also:

Reflecting on Ferrari’s disappointing Bahrain result, where it could not keep pace with Red Bull due to poor tyre wear levels even before Leclerc dropped off the podium, Sainz suggested Red Bull’s 2022 turnaround from a double DNF in the season opener before going on to win both titles provided inspiration.

“It was a tough first weekend for the team, but in general I think we got out of it with the maximum we could’ve done,” said Sainz, who was struggling with his voice after picking up a cold last weekend.

“Obviously, Charles’s penalty coming into here is not ideal, but it’s only the first race,” he added. “If something taught us [from] 2022, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

“So, we’re going to try and build up from there and especially now kick the developments in and try and improve the car as much as possible.

“Try and improve from where we’ve started.”

shares
comments

FIA revises F1 penalty points approach for 2023

Hamilton: Mercedes up to 1.5s per lap slower than Red Bull in F1 race trim

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2023

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2023

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Saudi Arabian GP
Alex Kalinauckas

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2023

How Perez kept Verstappen’s Saudi Arabian GP surge at bay

How Perez kept Verstappen’s Saudi Arabian GP surge at bay

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Saudi Arabian GP
Jake Boxall-Legge

How Perez kept Verstappen’s Saudi Arabian GP surge at bay How Perez kept Verstappen’s Saudi Arabian GP surge at bay

The enormous job facing F1 for its Vegas gamble to pay off

The enormous job facing F1 for its Vegas gamble to pay off

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Las Vegas GP
GP Racing

The enormous job facing F1 for its Vegas gamble to pay off The enormous job facing F1 for its Vegas gamble to pay off

Testing times for Vasseur, but the true challenge at Ferrari is about to come

Testing times for Vasseur, but the true challenge at Ferrari is about to come

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Saudi Arabian GP
Jonathan Noble

Testing times for Vasseur, but the true challenge at Ferrari is about to come Testing times for Vasseur, but the true challenge at Ferrari is about to come

How the F1 driver expression saga continues to have a Lineker-like problem

How the F1 driver expression saga continues to have a Lineker-like problem

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Saudi Arabian GP
Alex Kalinauckas

How the F1 driver expression saga continues to have a Lineker-like problem How the F1 driver expression saga continues to have a Lineker-like problem

Why a Mercedes U-turn couldn't deny Sauber's F1 debut surprise

Why a Mercedes U-turn couldn't deny Sauber's F1 debut surprise

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Adam Cooper

Why a Mercedes U-turn couldn't deny Sauber's F1 debut surprise Why a Mercedes U-turn couldn't deny Sauber's F1 debut surprise

Why Mercedes is fronting up to its F1 mistakes too much

Why Mercedes is fronting up to its F1 mistakes too much

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Saudi Arabian GP
Jake Boxall-Legge

Why Mercedes is fronting up to its F1 mistakes too much Why Mercedes is fronting up to its F1 mistakes too much

How a dynamic design tool has grown in F1 importance

How a dynamic design tool has grown in F1 importance

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
GP Racing

How a dynamic design tool has grown in F1 importance How a dynamic design tool has grown in F1 importance