Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2023

Ferrari “changed a lot of parts” to fix fault which put Sainz out of Qatar GP

Formula 1

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Carlos Sainz Jnr believes Ferrari can keep McLaren at bay in the constructors championship if they do not suffer any more reliability concerns.

Sainz did not start the Qatar Grand Prix due to a fuel leak that developed on his Ferrari prior to the start of the race. He says that he determined to return to the podium for the first time since Singapore, which he won.

“I’ve been trying to ‘recover’ from Qatar,” he said. “Not so much physically, because I didn’t race, but mentally from not being able to take part in that race. Which, in hindsight actually, if there was a race to miss it was probably Qatar. Looking back it looked like a good one to maybe skip.

“But now in Austin, I’m ready to focus on what matters, at least trying to get hopefully back on the podium this weekend.”

His team mate, Charles Leclerc, finished fifth in Qatar. Sainz says he was following the race and trying to keep track of where he felt he was likely to be running throughout.

“I was an interested observer, but obviously looking at strategy – I was constantly looking where would I have been,” he admitted. “The brain is always going to the race trace and saying ‘I would have been here with my strategy’ – ‘I would have tried to do this and this’ – and then you just realise that it’s not worth it because you get even more frustrated and you start thinking, ‘what if, what if, what if?’.

“It was frustrating from a driver’s perspective to watch the race from the barriers, but it’s how it goes. It looks like we will get a bit of a heat experience also here in Austin. I love this track, I love how this place becomes from Saturday and Sunday with the fans and how cool it is to drive it. So hopefully I’ll forget Qatar soon.”

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Asked if he was concerned about a potential recurrence of the reliability problems that prevented him from racing at the Losail circuit this weekend in the United States, Sainz said “no”.

“We’ve changed a lot of parts in the car to try and obviously correct the issue that affected us in Qatar,” he said.

“We are trying also to find solutions in the long-term, not only in the short-term, because it’s definitely something that we are not happy [about] and we’ve also had issues in the past. So it’s a bit of a headache that is giving us this fuel tank [problem] now and then. But we will try and put it back together this weekend and hopefully there shouldn’t be any issues anytime soon.”

Ferrari sit third in the constructors’ standings, 79 points ahead of fifth-placed McLaren, who have had both cars on the podium in the last two rounds, with five rounds remaining in the season. Despite McLaren rapidly racking up points over the second half of the season, Sainz says he’s confident Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will not overhaul Ferrari for third place.

“If we don’t have any other DNSs or DNFs, I think we should be able to keep them behind,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean that they’re not going to beat us. I think they’re going to beat us in most of the races from here to the end of the season if all things align, because they do have a very quick car nowadays and they look to be the only ones that can sometimes bother Red Bull. Unless we are at a track like Singapore where maybe it’s more us.

“I was playing golf yesterday with Lando and we were discussing whether they will be ahead this weekend, if we will be ahead. Maybe quali, maybe race. Basically we don’t know. But so let’s see tomorrow.”

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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...

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2 comments on “Ferrari “changed a lot of parts” to fix fault which put Sainz out of Qatar GP”

  1. A DNS was probably indeed a blessing in disguise in hindsight, as I already thought at the time.

    1. Not in terms of points and the fight vs mercedes.

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