Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Sainz dismisses suggestions Ferrari hold the upper hand

2022 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr has played down suggestions that Ferrari are one of the strongest teams based on their performance through the opening test in Barcelona.

Ferrari have covered more laps than any other team over the first two days of testing, with Sainz and team mate Charles Leclerc consistently towards the top of the timing screens, leading to Mercedes driver George Russell to describe Ferrari as looking “very, very competitive”.

However, Sainz disagreed when it was suggested that Ferrari looked to have enjoyed a strong start to pre-season testing.

“Why do you believe we look in great shape?,” Sainz said. “I mean, this is very early days and I can imagine why you guys were starting to take conclusions and maybe try to put up a bit of a pecking order. But for us, really, we have no clue.

“I think no one has a clue what fuel loads, which elements are everyone running. So we cannot confirm or deny that we are happy or sad because we really don’t know where we are at all. I think Bahrain, maybe it will start to get a bit easier to start to guess where everyone is.”

With the dramatically overhauled technical regulations for the 2022 season meaning cars behave remarkably different compared to last year, Sainz says he is enjoying the challenge of getting to grips with the heavily revised new cars.

“The cars are quite a bit different to last year,” he said. “You are faced with different challenges when you drive them.

“I’m enjoying it quite a lot, to be fair. The whole process of having to feel it, having to put it on the limit and see how the car reacts to different inputs. There’s certainly quite big differences out there, but the muscle memory of the driver just adapts very quickly.

“We just know how to drive a little bit in a different way and the car just asks you to do some different things and we just do it. And that learning process and this challenge, it’s just good fun to go through it. So in that sense an exciting pre-season testing because it’s different to anything else I’ve done before.”

Sainz has taken over the Ferrari F1-75 for the final session of the three day test on an artificially soaked Circuit de Catalunya.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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14 comments on “Sainz dismisses suggestions Ferrari hold the upper hand”

  1. People have admittedly jumped to conclusions on Ferrari unnecessarily quickly.

    1. of course, it’s not even finished yet the first round of testing

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      25th February 2022, 14:49

      Happens every year doesn’t it? Mercedes say Ferrari are the fastest, loads of people believe them and are then absolutely shocked when Mercedes line up 1st and 2nd on the grid at the opening race.

      For the first few years, it was understandable that people were fooled by Toto. After that, it became a bit silly that some would fall for the same thing again and again. Now it’s just funny.

      1. I don’t see Mercedes being so competitive this year, based on what little we’ve seen in the first test. I expect the battle to be between Red Bull and Ferrari with Mercedes fighting for 3rd in the constructors.

      2. People were so quick to jump on the Ferrari hype train this year solely because of their sidepod solution. It looks radical, and a radical look means pace to some people. Mercedes only started making noises about Ferrari in the past 2 days, and not very many of them, so I’m not sure why they’re being taken as the gospel – especially since swathes of fans like to portray Mercedes as a haven for dishonesty.

      3. @petebaldwin that said, Marko’s also been talking up Ferrari as well, so it’s not as if others aren’t doing the same thing (whilst, at the same time, Marko’s been trashing McLaren by accusing them of “chasing sponsors”).

  2. Ferrari is clearly in trouble, looking at the lower points.

  3. Well based on what I’ve seen so far (or read on the various forums), here’s my prediction:
    1. Ferrari
    2. Red Bull (very close to Ferrari)
    3. McLaren
    4. Mercedes (very close to McLaren)
    5. ALpha Tauri
    6. Aston Martin
    7. Williams
    8. Alpine (and reliability will hurt them if they don’t fix it before the season starts)
    9. Haas
    10. Alfa Romeo

    1. I guess the top 4 (Ferrari, RB, Mercedes & McLaren) are a couple of tenths ahead of the rest of the field. Behind them it’s really hard to judge, but I would assume Alpine are a small step ahead of the other midfield teams, as they seemed quite solid, even without running DRS.
      What’s impossible to say right now is who has got the slowest package. Haas and Alfa have had very bad reliability, so I wouldn’t read too much into their performance. It could be anyone between Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin, Williams, Haas and Alfa Romeo.

  4. Well, they look prepared.. That is all we can say so far.

    1. They definitely do. They put in the most number of laps out of anyone and had next to no technical problems. That’s all we can say at the moment. Time will tell whether it’s gonna be enough to challenge for the title.

  5. How many times do some need to relearn the fact that winter testing times mostly show little besides who is hopelessly off the pace and who might not be competitive until after the opening fly away races?

  6. Not completely unrelated, but watching Ted Kravitz last night describe the aerodynamic effect of the scoop in the top of the Ferrari sidepod by using a Babybel wax wrapper, and a bottle of water, was worth the price of the subscription alone.

    1. @jazz Just seen that notebook. Absolutely brilliant. Ted is amazing…

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