Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Sainz hopes wind eases after “very difficult” conditions in first Ferrari test

2021 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr is hoping for calmer conditions over the remaining days of testing in Bahrain after a sandstorm disrupted his first run for Ferrari.

The wind grew in intensity during the course of today’s test and blew a considerable amount of sand onto the circuit. Sainz described how the gusts made for a challenging first official day of running with his new team.

“These cars nowadays are so wind-dependent,” he said. “Every corner there was headwind the car felt amazing, every corner there was a tailwind, it was very difficult to drive.”

He said he needs “a bit more of a calm day” to give feedback on the car’s limitations. “The fact that I did my debut with Ferrari with a sandstorm and 50kph of gust wind, it didn’t help, for sure.

“But let’s see if later in the test or at some race weekends we have a bit of a calmer situation to assess more the little fine-tunings and the little tricks of the car.”

Sainz said it was “difficult to tell” how confident he felt in the SF21 “because I don’t think I’m actually [driving] at the limit yet.”

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“It’s too early,” he said. “I only had 60 laps with this car, it’s not enough to put it absolutely at the limit.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Leclerc’s stoppage disrupted Sainz’s day
However he is satisfied with the preparation he did prior to the test, which included a run in a three-year-old Ferrari at Fiorano.

“I think I’ve arrived to the first test as prepared as I could have arrived, even with all the [pandemic] situation. I feel like from lap one I was on top of the steering wheel, of the switches, knowing what we wanted to test, we tested exactly everything I wanted to test. So I felt on top of the basic stuff.

“Now it’s time to challenge the car and little by little try to find its tricks where the last two or three tenths are which is the limit of the car. And that’s going to to take some time and a lot of new sets of tyres, long runs to know exactly where that is.”

Sainz took over the Ferrari during the lunch break from team mate Charles Leclerc, who came to a stop at the end of the morning session with a technical problem. That had an effect on how much running Sainz was able to do.

“We went out a bit later. But in the end, we shortened up the timings of the [pit] stops and I didn’t care at the end because I could do all the laps and all the things that I have planned.

“You need to take into account that in testing the teams are extra-cautious. Whenever they see something on the data, it’s a bit strange, they stop the car immediately just to make sure it’s not a day-ending stopping. It wasn’t the case, we could go out I think one hour and 15 minutes, one hour and a half after the car stopped, we checked everything and we went back out.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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3 comments on “Sainz hopes wind eases after “very difficult” conditions in first Ferrari test”

  1. Ferrari’s already looking worse than last year in my opinion. They’ll struggle to defend the 6th from Alpha Tauri. Maybe a bit harsh before the season even began, but the car looks a dog and it hasn’t provided us with any tangible proof it won’t also drive like a dog.

    1. Ferrari seem to still have Alfa for a shadow. I would not say worse than last season though.

  2. @pironitheprovocateur
    I disagree. They might not have set quick lap times (short runs), but judging by the long runs in the afternoon, they should be at least at the front of the midfield. Definitely ahead of Alfa, Alpha Tauri and Alpine.
    If anything, the Mercedes has been looking like a dog to drive.

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