Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Singapore, 2022

Winning races, not beating Mercedes to second place, is Ferrari’s priority – Sainz

2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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Ferrari are more “concerned about getting back to winning” this season than beating Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, according to Carlos Sainz Jnr.

The team has four wins so far this year, while Mercedes are heading towards their first win-less season since 2011. Ferrari have a 35-point lead over their rivals with six races to go.

Mercedes have cut into their points lead in recent races. Ferrari have only got a single car on the podium three times in the past five rounds, despite starting from pole position three times.

Nonetheless Sainz said their priority is returning to winning ways rather than ensuring they claim the runner-up spot. “We are concerned about getting back to winning, more than [beating] Mercedes,” he said. “Honestly, we know we’ll get back to winning before the end of the season, then the battle with Mercedes should be sorted.

“I think we have both cars always qualifying in the top three, top four. So we need to get that race pace back like we did in Monza. We had a much better race pace, and like this we don’t get out-raced on Sunday from the Merc now.

“We just need to get focusing on trying to beat the Red Bull whenever we can, and that should sort out the championship battle.”

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His team mate Charles Leclerc remains mathematically in contention for the championship, but could see his title ambitions end at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix should he score poorly and Red Bull’s points leader Verstappen wins.

“I think a track like this should suit our car, but Red Bull has done a big step forward since the summer break, so I think it’s going to be difficult against them,” said Leclerc. “Let’s see. Our focus is mostly on the race.”

Leclerc has been on pole eight times this year but only won three grands prix, and knows Ferrari have to improve beyond just their car to be winning again.

“I would really like to use these six last races of the season to try and focus on the way we execute our Sundays, and this is super, super important going forward. We’ve done an incredible step forward last year to this year in terms of performance, there’s another step that needs to be done in order for us to win the championship. Our focus in these last six races is on exactly that.”

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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12 comments on “Winning races, not beating Mercedes to second place, is Ferrari’s priority – Sainz”

  1. This is why they will fail to hold on to 2nd. They don’t have a car capable of outright beating Max anymore, so they will try putting all sorts of stupid strategies that will end them up in finishing off the podium more often than not.

    Better to maximise the best positions you can achieve in a relative risk-free way, a good way to evaluate your competitiveness and also to maintain a level of sanity in the pitwall, garage and the factory.

    1. They don’t have the car, but more importantly they don’t have the team to do it @wsrgo.

      1. @bascb They never had the team, but since Spa, they don’t have the car either.

    2. Are we seeing the first fight for not being second and win more wind tunnel time?

      1. @jeanrien No, because the prize money is more relevant & valuable.

        1. For a team like ferrari, and especially in the budget cap era? Ferrari used to spend 400 mil a year, now 150 or so, and they need money?

  2. Feels like Ferrari just copy pasted Mercedes statements on focusing on a win instead of a 2nd in the WCC. Makes sense as well, because even if Ferrari finish P3 in the championship, they’ll get more wind tunnel time for next season, so its not like all is lost. I bet the FIA didn’t think of teams dropping places intentionally, to get a better chance next season.

    Either ways, with the form Red Bull and Max are in, it’s only mechanical bad luck or unforeseen circumstances that will take this win away from Max. I’m just hoping Mercedes get a win instead of Ferrari, as they seem to deserve it much more as a team this season.

    1. @todfod They’d get less prize money, though, & this would be away from next season’s development.
      No team will try & lose WCC positions, especially as prize money has a greater value & impact than wind tunnel time.

      1. @jerejj

        I don’t think a lot of the well financed teams rely as much on prize money anymore.. especially with budget caps in place. They already have enough in the bank to roll out all developments. They’re being limited with how much they can spend, more than how much they have.

    2. @todfod As far as I’m aware the wind tunnel allocations are calculated in August, at which point Ferrari was 2nd, so deliberately losing out on 2nd now would be all cost (prize money) and no benefit.

      1. @wsrgo

        Interesting.. Wondering how that plays out in the off season.. and early next year. Surely, the WCC standings will change over the next few races. Seems like a really odd time to have a cut off.

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