Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Jeddah performance shows Ferrari have “a lot of work to do” – Sainz

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The second race of the season showed Ferrari are not as close to the pace as they thought they were, Carlos Sainz Jnr admitted.

Both the team’s drivers finished outside the top five yesterday, Sainz sixth ahead of team mate Charles Leclerc in seventh.

Both drivers were disadvantaged by the appearance of the Safety Car shortly after they made their first pit stops. “It wasn’t the best timing because we were out there on the medium over-cutting Stroll and starting to show a bit of a better pace after struggling a lot in dirty air behind Stroll,” Sainz explained. “But I honestly think the result wouldn’t have changed much.”

Sainz said the superior pace of the Red Bulls in the second half of the race underlined how far behind Ferrari are. “The last stint on the hard proves that we are not where we want to be, that we still deg[rade] more than the Mercs, we still deg more than the Astons and we lack a bit of race pace.”

Ferrari arrived in Jeddah hoping to be the closest rivals to Red Bull. “I’m a bit surprised because after Friday and before the weekend, I thought that we had a chance of being the second force here in Jeddah,” said Sainz.

“But I think that last stint on the hard proves that we still have a lot of work to do. We have a weakness in the race and that we need to wait for the developments to come to see if we can improve that weakness.”

Ferrari’s poor tyre management is exacerbated when they run in the slipstream of other cars, said Sainz.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“Right now we are not where we want to be in terms of race pace and the car in general, the balance, even in dirty air following we just struggle a bit. If we already overheat the tyres in clean air, imagine following. We just eat them alive and we need clean air to produce some kind of decent lap time.

Race start, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Poll: Vote for your 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
“We know exactly our weaknesses, this is a positive. Obviously we cannot do magic to bring the developments early, but I know the team is pushing flat out to bring them and this will improve our race pace for sure.”

Sainz indicated the team ran more downforce in Jeddah in an attempt to better manage their tyre degradation.

“We didn’t run as low drag in Bahrain. Actually we ran a very similar rear wing as in Bahrain and this is probably why we were not as fast on the straights as maybe in Bahrain. In Bahrain we were maybe lower downforce than the others, here we were equal.

“Our limitation [is not] the drag or the power, it’s race pace. It’s the deg, is some sensitivities that the car has in cornering and we know are not the right ones but we know and we will develop.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    18 comments on “Jeddah performance shows Ferrari have “a lot of work to do” – Sainz”

    1. Jeddah performance shows that Sainz has a lot more work to do. It’s beginning to show that Carlos effect in Ferrari.

    2. If racepace is bad then it is bad in (almost) every circuit.

    3. He’s deflecting from his own poor performance but throwing the team under the bus. Where was he when Ferrari did have the best all-around car prior to the first half of the 2022 season ?

      1. @tifoso1989 I think that’s slightly unfair. While Sainz is not on Leclerc’s level, he wasn’t doing too badly in 2022. His main mistakes where obviously in Australia and in Spain, but he collected a good number of 3rd and even 2nd places then up until around Belgium when Red Bull just pulled clear of everyone.

        1. Oh yeah, he was doing bad given the car he had at his disposal + the results he was expected to deliver. His glory moment and the only race where he managed to deliver when LEC/Ferrari “failed” was at Silverstone. Other than that… no. Mercedes and RBR on the other hand were/are loooot much luckier when their no.1 driver wasn’t able to fight for the win or podium.

        2. He wasn’t doing too badly?!
          He was miles off the pace in Bahrain. He then crashed out due to driver error in the following race.. Followed by a quali crash IIRC. He crashed on multiple occasions like Suzuka as well. There were probably only 2 or 3 race weekends where he actually looked quicker or at the same pace as Leclerc. If it wasn’t for Ferraris blunders with Leclerc’s strategy and mechanical DNFs, he would have beaten quite comprehensively by Leclerc. Heck, Sainz finished behind Russell, and nearly behind Hamilton in the standings…. Which is quite shameful considering that Ferrari had a decent performance advantage in them all season long.

          1. @todfod I applaud you for this comment about Sainz’s 2022 season. Simply direct to the point! I simply love it how you said the things on their name! Totally agree with everything you said. Well done!

          2. 1,000%. Amazed anybody still rates Sainz

    4. Why did Sainz have to pit before Leclerc despite starting on the more durable mediums and being more ahead and in control of distance to those ahead than Leclerc who started on the softs and had to use them to make his way forward.

      Sainz poor tyre management resulted in them pitting too early and unfortunately getting caught out by the safety car.
      That Leclerc pitted early I fully understand same as Ferrari plan to have him start on the softs.

    5. we need clean air to produce some kind of decent lap time

      So basically they built a qualifying car.

      1. Which isn’t really competitive in quali sessions either.

    6. I’m not going to bother looking at the exact laptimes for this specific race, but we’ve seen for the past two years at Ferrari that Sainz has never been able to look after the tyres as well as Leclerc. Whether or not Leclerc would have been able to extend his stint on the Softs remains an unknown, but he was nearly 20 laps on them with a full fuel load and still making decent progress relative to other cars.

      I don’t doubt Ferrari has issues; it was obvious in Bahrain when they couldn’t run the strategy Red Bull did. But in Bahrain Sainz was scrapping with Hamilton and losing to Alonso, whilst Leclerc was far ahead and even keeping Pérez behind for a good while. A part of this is on Sainz himself. Not all of it, and maybe not even half of it, but until he matches Leclerc it’s not the car that’s holding him back.

      1. You are correct that Sainz did put in some decent performances last year and he didn’t make too many errors. But in this year’s car he has not really looked quick at any point. Leclerc is very obviously the better driver and I think Ferrari really need to take steps now, to recognise this. I know they face a difficult situation with internal politics but the refusal to acknowledge the relative performance of their two drivers has and is going to cost them points.

        1. @phil-f1-21 I agree but I think that Carlos is the right driver to have alongside Charles. Your other are options are Danny Ric maybe someone like Albon?? Perez?

          I get the impression Ferrari know Charles is the quickest and we’ll see him get preferential treatment throughout the year. It sems the politics, constant change at the head of both raceteam and Ferrari company itself that puts them in a bad spot. I think Binotto still in engineering (think this was his position?) would give them a stronger car?

          It seems cultural change is necessary but I don’t see them in a hurry to chew the humble pill. Vasseur seems a good choice so let’s see where they get to with him. My fear is the culture constrains his ability to do enough.

        2. @todfod I applaud you for this comment about Sainz’s 2022 season. Simply direct to the point! I simply love it how you said the things on their name! Totally agree with everything you said. Well done!

    7. They have quite some work to do it seems indeed, but SAI has too. He doesn’t shine in any department, LEC is the one saving Ferrari’s face, and he did it in Quali and Race too this particular GP.

    8. I mean Mercedes have been under serious flack for sticking with a flawed concept yet even with all their issues, they’re outperforming Ferrari. It’s perhaps to be expected when you sack the man at the top in the off season but so far Ferrari have been the biggest disappointment this year as I thought they might be the only ones capable of challenging Red Bull.

    9. Reliability can be improved over a season. But if the degradation is somehow related to the core concept of the car itself, then 2023 will also be a writeoff. Perhaps the best chance has come and gone in 2022.

    Comments are closed.