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Formula 1 Italian GP

Sainz: Ferrari will continue FP1 experiments despite F1 2023 battle

Carlos Sainz says his Ferrari team will continue to trial 2024 car solutions for the remainder of the season despite being locked into a fight with Mercedes and Aston Martin.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Ferrari has decided to make wholesale changes to its car for next year to dial out its unpredictable and sometimes downright crippling handling issues that have held back Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc.

The pair often qualified reasonably well, with Leclerc even taking two poles, but have then fallen back through the order on the most demanding circuits, with the SF-23's high-downforce weakness not only affecting driver confidence but also its tyre wear.

Having concluded that its handling issues are intrinsic to its current chassis, the team has now shifted focus towards the 2024 project, which will feature a new chassis and rear end.

Meanwhile, the Scuderia has started using Friday's first practice as a test session for next year, where it is free to experiment with a wide array of set-up choices before having to move towards a track-specific set-up.

Spending an hour not working on an optimal set-up for the rest of the race weekend could come at the expense of its 2023 constructors' championship, where it still battles Mercedes and Aston Martin for second place, but Sainz believes concentrating on 2024 is the right call.

“Don’t get me wrong, there is still a constructors’ championship to fight with Mercedes and Aston Martin for," Sainz replied when asked by Autosport if he backs the team's 2024 shift.

"We still believe we can come out on top if we do a perfect job, but there is also the fact that we need to use these practice sessions to keep trying things.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Photo by: Ferrari

"I think we fully understand what we want from next year’s car, where we want to put the car next year and what characteristics that we want the car to have.

“Another thing is whether we can fully achieve it or not. We are fully focused now on the simulator, in the wind tunnel and in the free practices, taking time to still keep experimenting with things to make sure that we have everything covered for next year’s car.

“Also, there are very specific circuits where it is not worth it, and then there are other circuits where you can definitely learn a lot.”

But Sainz also cautioned that Ferrari can only achieve so much with its FP1 experiments, saying the team needs to put its faith in its development process at Maranello which he believes has delivered solid in-season progress.

"In the end, the best tooling is still the simulations, the simulator, the wind tunnel," the Spaniard added.

"On-track, you just put on the pieces that we think are going to make things better, but it is very difficult to measure things.

“We are always on a different tyre going out in free practice from a medium to a soft, and that masks completely the tests that we might do.

“We need to trust completely our process, our simulations and the feedback of the drivers.

"When we drive, it is pretty crystal clear what we need for next year.

"Now we need to see if we can put everything together and produce a better car.”

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