Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Sainz sure Ferrari didn’t intend to ‘undercut’ Leclerc past him

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Carlos Sainz Jnr dismisses the idea Ferrari tried to use strategy to get his team mate ahead of him.

In brief

No favouritism at Ferrari – Sainz

Sainz passed the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc early on, only for his team mate to pit soon afterwards. As Sainz delayed his pit stop, Leclerc jumped back in front of him. Sainz passed him again and went on to finish ahead.

But Sainz, who will leave the team at the end of the year, does not believe there was any favouritism in the team’s strategy. “I don’t think it was an intended ‘undercut’,” he said.

“I think Charles degraded the tyres probably a bit earlier than me, and they decided to keep me out for three or four laps. Honestly, those three or four laps were very strong. I think I managed to go down to 37s, low 37s again. So it was worth it.

“Then luckily it didn’t compromise my race because I could pass Charles fairly quickly and go and attack George [Russell], which I passed also quite quickly. So I don’t think I lost too much race time on that situation.”

Zhou pleased with ‘best of the rest’

Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu was pleased with the drive which lifted him to 11th place in yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“We had a clean race with a good start where I was able to make up some positions,” he said, “but it was quite challenging to keep the Aston Martins behind without compromising our tyres. Luckily, I managed to keep Kevin [Magnussen] and the rest of the field behind me.

“We made progress over the weekend, and the team worked hard to find the optimal set-up. Unfortunately, in a race with no attrition, we couldn’t get points without anything happening to the cars ahead of us.”

Ferrari imply BoP behind poor Qatar showing

James Calado (GBR) / Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA) / Antonio Giovinazzi
Ferrari had a difficult opening weekend in WEC
Ferrari lacked pace in the opening round of the World Endurance Championship yesterday. While teams are forbidden from discussing the series’ Balance of Performance rules, Ferrari indicated the enforced changes to their car’s weight and power output were behind their poor weekend.

“We saw our pre-race fears confirmed, namely, the power-to-weight ratio’s high impact on competitiveness that left us in an inferior position and precluded any chance of contending for the podium,” said Ferrari sports car chief Antonio Coletta.

“Looking at the positives, we drove all three cars to the finish again, amassing further data and kilometres that will be useful starting at Imola.”

Cordeel gets grid penalty

Hitech driver Amaury Cordeel will carry a five-place grid penalty into next week’s round in Jeddah as a punishment for his collision with Oliver Bearman yesterday. Cordeel failed to realise Bearman was heading for the pits when he tangled with the Prema driver, and subsequently retired from the race.

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Comment of the day

Quite a few people found the opening race of the F1 season a turn-off, but not everyone:

I enjoyed the whole weekend, including the race.

Mixed up results in FP1,2,3; tense qualifying, and then a race with a) perfection by the winning driver, b) some good early racing between several different drivers, and c) a nice can he catch second place action.

Had to wake up silly early, in particular for work days to watch it all (west coast USA), but was worth it. Looking forward to see F1 live in Miami and Austin.

But first next week, hopefully as enjoyable as this opening race.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Seaney_T!

On this day in motorsport

  • 45 years ago today Gilles Villeneuve won the third round of the world championship at Kyalami, leading a one-two for Ferrari with Jody Scheckter. The race was run in two parts as heavy rain fell shortly after the original start.

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...

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35 comments on “Sainz sure Ferrari didn’t intend to ‘undercut’ Leclerc past him”

  1. Well we learnt something today – Horner’s texts ARE more exciting than the racing /s

    1. as long as F1 let RBR keep their power unit advantage, its just going to be RBR #1 on time, all the time.

      now all F1 needs is BOP adjustments under the table to keep the action ‘real’ exciting. Too much control, too much money trying to control the narrative.

      apparently this was the first race of any season in F1 where there was no retirement due to reliability. Perhaps this underscores F1’s biggest problem. the teams are unable to take any real meaningful risks, and are just racing at the pleasure of liberty media and the ‘share holders’ of the teams. Which means its only pointless advertising and idol promotion.

      At least Mercedes GMBH are ditching their EV only agenda, there is hope somewhere.

      1. It can’t have been the first race without any reliability retirement, because there’s already been races before without any retirement at all!

        1. There have been other races where everyone finished but I think pcxmac referred to the very first race in any given season. In the first race in 2023 – also Bahrain – there were three retirements (Ocon, Leclerc and Piastri retired). Yesterday: zero retirements.

      2. now all F1 needs is BOP adjustments under the table to keep the action ‘real’ exciting. Too much control, too much money trying to control the narrative.

        Am i reading this right you want BOP but protest against control?! if true that some high level schizophrenic thinking.

        BOP in F1 and i am out. I tried to see WEC last year but the fakery of it throw me away, i just could not stand in front of TV. There are much better things to do than seeing a fake sport. I have a lot of real ones around me.

        1. now all F1 needs is BOP adjustments under the table to keep the action ‘real’ exciting.

          I think pcxmac is being ironic (or sarcastic) in saying this

  2. All I can say about COTD is that some people are very easily pleased!

    1. I must confess that my initial reaction was more positive than when I had had time to reflect. I feel I was perhaps initially just pleased to be watching F1 again.

      I do think that the stagnancy of both rules and driver line up’s have amplified the sense of disappointment. I bet if the race had been literally identical other than Red Bull and Aston’s exchanging places, and swapping a couple of drivers around, though it still would not be the race of the decade, there would be a lot more interest.

      1. Yes. I was pretty much the same. I gave the race a higher score than many on Rate the Race but then thinking about it, I became more disappointed with the way things are going.

        Apparently Max won by the largest margin ever in a Bahrain GP. Time wise I mean.

    2. notagrumpyfan
      3rd March 2024, 9:10

      I’m a glass half full person as well.
      Not a stellar race, but I loved the way Sainz raced, and the initial bold action by Russell. (Did Ferrari pick the wrong two drivers for 2025?)
      Also some interesting fights a bit further down, but that didn’t result in great racing or exciting actions.

      Overall the gaps throughout the field seem smaller and the chasers closer to RBR. Looking forward to this season.

    3. Yes, maybe my bar is low.

      But this is the way I have now watched F1 for 40+ years. From my first race live at Zandvoort (with my dad) in the 70’s until the first race this season. Most on TV but last years also several live (Miami, Austin, LV), now with my daughter.

      Granted, I do not follow F1 as an historian, can’t tell you what the best season was, or who won which race when. I just enjoy the racing, including practice and qualifying, while it is happening, and then after a few days forget about it, and look forward to the next race weekend. There are always on track battles to see, intra team fights, sometimes comical clumsy accidents, bad drivers, but mostly very talented teams of drivers and engineers putting out a great product. And when there are periods of world class excellence, it is very enjoyable to see how one driver, one team can maintain that, and how all the others are trying to catch up. By copying, by being innovative, by “working the rules”.

      Much more fun looking and enjoying positive things then focus on what’s wrong, or wanting about the good old days. From the comments, but that is the nature of commenting on the internet, more people like to dwell on what they perceive as wrong or bad. To each his own.

  3. Wow, did not expect that quote from Jos Verstappen. Instantly confirms all the rumours and speculation, painting Horner as the victim of a mutinous coup casting legitimate doubt on the origin of the accusations. All of a sudden, there’s publicly declared motive for character assassination.

    Hopefully there’s some more exciting races to come. That’s a sad tweet :( More WEC? I’m torn on that, it’s not much better…

    1. Jos is projecting his own control/toxic/narc issues. The dude should be tossed out of the paddock. Hes literally risking his son’s future/credit for his own ends. Whether or not ‘clan’ gets edged out of the garage, time will tell. It would help Checo out innumerably.

    2. Well it was a Daily Mail article. I’d question why it was even included in the roundup.

      1. This…. getting a bit tired of this poor journalism (not directed as this wonderful forum but in general) as it is sometimes interesting to get a better understanding of what is going on. But from the get go I know that everything I will read about a topic needs to scrutinised and questions since these days most of the story is either staged, incomplete or simply false/fantasy. There is no way we are able to distract the truth from the media anymore, rendering them useless imho.

        1. How is a direct quote from a figure key to the issue which we haven’t heard from at all since it started poor journalism? There has been so much speculation surrounding Jos’ part in all of this and this quote is revelatory.

  4. Come on Ferrari, don’t be this way. They know the rules of the WEC:

    6.2.1 Manufacturers, Competitors, Drivers and any persons or entities associated with their entries must not seek to influence the establishment of the BoP or comment on the results, in particular through public statements, the media and social networks. Any infringement to the above principles will be penalised by the Stewards, at any time during any Competition, post-race included

    BoP is never easy, but they got it spot on for Le Mans last year, and with so many new and updated cars it’s no wonder that it’s not perfect from the first race. Give it some time.

    That said, the FIA and ACO do need to do better. Nobody signs up for a BoP class to then have Toyota (another public complainer) dominate. That’s not what this class is supposed to be about.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      3rd March 2024, 9:17

      BoP is never easy, but they got it spot on for Le Mans last year

      How can BoP ever be fair, let alone ‘spot on’?

      1. BoP is entirely fair because that’s the only reason these teams joined up. They had no interest in LMP1. BoP is also a great way to keep performance and costs under control, two other problems with LMP1, which was both too fast and too expensive.

        Le Mans last year had every manufacturer have similar pace. They all led the race on merit at some point, and in the end the outfit that ran the best race was rewarded for it. There is so much more to motorsport than building the cars, and the bonus is that we as the public get to see all that play out live on tv.

        1. notagrumpyfan
          3rd March 2024, 10:44

          I disagree with you on various levels:
          1) signing up cannot be a reason to say it’s fair. I’d sign up to a 100m sprint if Bolt has a BoP of 100kg.
          2) why should a team be innovative if you get penalised at the first sign of success. Just stick to a spec series if you want to see cars with similar pace.

          1. 1) signing up cannot be a reason to say it’s fair. I’d sign up to a 100m sprint if Bolt has a BoP of 100kg.

            Would Usain Bolt accept it, though? It’s only ‘fair’ if you both accept that same condition.

            2) why should a team be innovative if you get penalised at the first sign of success. Just stick to a spec series if you want to see cars with similar pace.

            Nobody is forcing them to be innovative. That’s not really the main point of the series anymore – just like F1.
            However, if they do truly fall behind in performance, there are absolutely no guarantees that the BoP system will be used to save them from themselves.

            In GT3, for example, cars are still being improved year on year. Faster cars do have better chances to achieve better results – the BoP system is designed to limit the field spread, not to award anyone an automatic victory.

            It’s clear that many people who argue against BoP are against it on principle – even if they don’t fully understand the principle…
            The teams who compete in BoP series understand it – and accept it very willingly.
            When they don’t accept it, they leave.

          2. LMH won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it seems fair to judge them based on their stated goals, rather than an alternative/ideal top-class in sportscars. Every team joining LMH/LMDh knew from the start that their designs would be both performance capped and then balanced with the other cars. So it seems the better approach is to ask if the FIA, ACO and IMSA are doing a good job.

            In my estimation, it’s a mixed bag. They should never have said, as they did last year, that they wouldn’t make changes because that was never going to work. It was a big PR miss, and soured many people on the pre-Le Mans BoP change. But given the importance of that event, they also couldn’t go into it with a dominant Toyota; and, to their credit, the Le Mans BoP was really good; all the cars were competitive.

            They also missed the mark when they allowed first Toyota and then Ferrari to complain loudly about the BoP. Not only is this forbidden, for good reason, it also further coloured people’s perception, and made every change suspect in the eyes of many viewers. But it’s inevitable that the governing bodies will have to keep making small changes as they learn more about the cars and how they perform on different tracks, and as the teams themselves also learn how to exploit their cars’ potential better.

            Now if they still haven’t figured it out by the end of this or next season then that’s a problem. Because I have little doubt some manufacturers are going to call it quits if they keep seeing Toyota dominate, or see themselves never reach the podium. So there’s every incentive for them to do better, and I hope they stamp out the BoP complaining by the teams, because if they don’t it’s going to keep dominating the headlines.

    2. Yellow Baron
      3rd March 2024, 9:46

      At least bop should be concrete. Changing race to race on a few people’s whims is stupid. It should be a clear system for all to see like btcc. Otherwise it’s hard to take it seriously. Eg lemans and Monza last year.

      It also turns out it’s not F1 but the FIA that’s communist. It’s in their rules that they don’t even allow teams to speak about some things. Same as usual then

      1. There is nothing fair about BoP.

        “…the only reason these teams joined up”
        Confusing concepts seems to be one of issues of this Age. That has nothing to do with fairness. Fairness for example might be a team win all races if that team made the best work in all those races.

        1. Fairness for example might be a team win all races if that team made the best work in all those races.

          If that’s the only kind (or most important kind) of fairness that competitors are interested in, they wouldn’t be participating in WEC now.
          They weren’t in it when there was no BoP, were they… Actually, WEC was left with only one major manufacturer out of 3 teams in total in the top category. That’s a dead category, right there.

          Perhaps you can come up with another reason why suddenly WEC has enticed 8-9 manufacturers into the top class if BoP is so terrible?

          GT3 has been using the same kinds of BoP levers since 2005 as WEC are now… There are always unhappy teams and manufacturers from time to time, but most of them that entered back then are still there now – largely, if not entirely, because the BoP system is in place and is constantly being tweaked from event to event.
          The biggest advantage GT3 has over WEC, though, is the much larger performance/results database they can draw from.

  5. Re COTD: I didn’t necessarily find the race itself dull but just relatively straightforward for the circuit’s standards, i.e., a similar race with limited battles for a position in Monaco would definitely feel quite a bit better than on a circuit that’s generally racing-friendly.

  6. notagrumpyfan
    3rd March 2024, 9:02

    Well I thought I’d set my expectations low enough but evidently not.

    Well, that’s my opinion about the journalists of this site.
    Not just tweeting gossip on the official twitter account, but even prominently reproducing such tweet in the daily racing round-up.

    1. nobody is making you visit this site, all you do is complain about it.

      1. notagrumpyfan
        3rd March 2024, 10:50

        My free choice to visit this site, complain about poor journalistic choices, skip those links, comment on other links, disagree with you, and post it here.

        It was also my free choice to cancel my paid subscription.
        I might not be grumpy about F1 and the racing, but that doesn’t make me a fan of all the other stuff here :P

  7. Well, Sainz is not wrong. You can never accuse Ferrari of intentionally disadvantaging someone as most of the time they have no idea what they are doing.

    1. most of the time they have no idea what they are doing.

      But at least they still finished 3rd and 4th! Imagine how clueless the other teams must be.

    2. Funny, and possibly correct. I didn’t think Carlos appreciated the question and he seemed measured in his response. It certainly made no sense to allow the team mates to clash twice and Leclerc was perhaps unnecessarily aggressive with his team mate compared to the others who passed him, especially if you consider he had a problem.

  8. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    3rd March 2024, 15:58

    Not being funny but why is Jos Verstappen’s opinion on what’s going on in Red Bull even relevant? Dude, you don’t work for them – your son does. Also given what we know of him, the idea this man of all men trying to be a moral compass is absolutely hilarious.

    1. He’s Max’s manager: he does yield some clout

    2. I thought the manager of Max is Raymond Vermeulen.
      Jos can say what he wants but he has zero influence in red bull. Max is loyal to his family but the actions of Jos (if he is involved) could backfire and ruin their relation.

Comments are closed.