Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Sainz eager to start 2023 “at the level I am now”

2022 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says that his target for 2023 is to begin next season in the same form with which he is closing out the 2022 championship.

Sainz joined Ferrari from McLaren in 2021 and finished ahead of team mate Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ championship at the end of the season. However, Leclerc enjoyed a more fruitful start to the 2022 season of the two Ferrari drivers, taking six pole positions and two race wins over the first ten races to Sainz taking just a single pole and race victory at Silverstone.

While Max Verstappen and Red Bull would go on to dominate the championship and take both titles with races to spare, Sainz’s form has picked up in recent rounds. He took pole position in the United States before beating his team mate in qualifying and the race in Mexico.

With the championships now out of reach, Sainz says his focus is on carrying his late-season momentum into the start of next year.

“I wish now that I would have felt a bit more comfortable at the beginning of the season, to make things also a bit more complicated for Max and, together with Charles, put up a bit more of a fight,” Sainz explained to media including RaceFans. “But Max has had an amazing season. He deserves it.

“I think they are dominant now. I think now the Red Bull is starting to be a dominant car – but at the beginning of the season, for sure not. And that is where he did a tremendous job. My target this next year is to start at the level that I am now, which is a pretty decent level, and make things more complicated for Max.”

Asked by RaceFans if Red Bull’s dominance over the final two-thirds of the season was concerning for Ferrari heading into 2023, Sainz said next season will be a fresh start.

“New year, new car,” Sainz said. “New regs, even, with the floor.

“We have another chance and I fully trust that the team will produce another great car like the car that we had this year and that we will learn from the mistakes done this year. I will learn from the mistakes I did this year and we will be more in the fight and ready to fight. I’m looking forward also for Merc[edes], it looks like they’re going to join us at the front.”

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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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9 comments on “Sainz eager to start 2023 “at the level I am now””

  1. I still believe you have potential, Carlos, and you can be pretty consistent, but yur pace really needs to improve, not just stay like it is now, and that’s hard to achieve. Maturing drivers tend to improve their consistence, not so much their raw pace.

    What I really like is the way you sometimes challenge Ferrari’s strategic decisions while Charles asumes them sheepishly, even if they are disastrous.

  2. Finishing 1 in 3 races?

  3. Carlos has fought back this season. He also has his brain turned on and challenges Ferrari’s strategy sometimes. I like that.
    But he has also made costly mistakes and gone missing in some races, being left behind by his teammate and the leaders. Making that extra step to truely match Charles might be possible for Sainz. Making a further step to the consistency of Verstappen and Hamilton.. I don’t think anyone can.

  4. He feels more comfortable since the pressure is off and Charles dropped the ball a bit, basically like 2021. I strongly believe once the new season starts and Ferrari is in the fight, Charles will make him uncomfortable again. Carlos is certainly talented and a skilled racing driver, but Charles is a prodigy that has not even unlocked his full potential yet.

  5. Sainz seems much more concerned about beating Leclerc than winning the WDC.
    Was better than Leclerc last race yet still finished only P5? Yeah, that’s good enough…

    This was his first season in what can be considered a top car and he definitely underperformed.

    He has to improve ASAP.

    1. I don’t see how one goal gets in the way of the other. He has to get on top of his teammate first and foremost, if he wants even a shot at the WDC if Ferrari gives him a car (and a team) to win one.

      It was pretty obvious last race p5 was the best that Ferrari could do and he got it.

  6. He wishes to be desperately slow and fighting for 5th. One these drivers that wish their car goes slower so they can look better. Leclerc had one bad weekend and all of the sudden the 2nd most heavily beaten team mate in f1 thinks he is on the up.

  7. Leclerc is a superstar with potential to be one of the greats. Sainz will never be anything more than a glorified number two no matter how he tries or begs the team.

  8. I like the attitude. Whether ambition is matched by ability we will (or have) seen. 100% with hyoko regarding challenging or not accepting Ferrari’s strategy.

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