Carlos Sainz Jnr says he understands why team mate Charles Leclerc is the only Ferrari driver to have the team’s upgraded power unit this weekend.
Sainz says the team’s decision to give Leclerc the upgrade was partly a result of the damage he suffered when he was hit by Lance Stroll on the first lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“There’s been a lot of thought about when and how to put this new power unit,” said Sainz. “In the end, we had a look at the pool of items that we have for the three power units and we saw that obviously Charles’ was damaged since the accident he had in Hungary, someone crashed into him. So he’s basically a lot tighter on parts than what I am.
“For him it was pretty urgent to try and get the fourth PU ready. The team obviously did a pretty big effort to try and bring this item forward and I am happy that he will get the first test on it and see how it works.
“It will be a good experiment for us also regarding next year as it’s a development path that we want to follow into next year’s engine, which we have a bit of homework to do there on.”
Ferrari may fit the upgrade to Sainz’s car before the end of the season, he added. “I will, as soon as the compromise between starting last and the championship and the circuit allows me to, with the parts that I have available, put it on the car.”
The team has made considerable progress with its power unit last year after falling behind their rivals in 2020. Sainz said they performed better than expected in the last race at Monza, the most demanding track on the calendar for power unit performance.
“Before going to Monza we knew it was going to be a difficult track for us,” he said. “We knew by our simulations that we were going to be three or four tenths behind McLaren before going there, even behind AlphaTauri and other teams. We know the characteristics of our car and we know that Monza is probably one of the worst possible places to go for the characteristics of our car.
“In the end, it turned out to be a decent weekend in terms of final outcome, because we still got a fair amount of points. But before going there we knew we were going to struggle and we did. So there’s nothing you can do against the nature of your own car.”
Sochi “should be a better track for us” compared to Monza, said Sainz. “Sector one is going to be a tough one for us compared to McLaren but the last sector we should be strong over there. So it should balance out a bit more. And hopefully we can we can put together another strong weekend and start cutting back the points deficit on them.”
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2021 Russian Grand Prix
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