In five races, Ferrari has added only one podium and is fourth in the Constructors’ World Championship. In the Drivers’ category, Carlos Sainz is fifth, while Charles Leclerc is seventh. A very different situation from the previous season, where they started the year as favourites, although Red Bull were clearly better afterwards.
“It has been tougher than any other year,” said the Ferrari driver in statements published by The Race.
“Expectations were different. I thought 2022 was like a return to the top for Ferrari and I think we all expected to fight at least on an equal footing,” he explained.
“Not only me, but the whole team had that expectation, that expectation. And suddenly to find ourselves over half a second behind Red Bull, that was hard to handle,” he added.
The performance of the SF-23 was less than desirable, especially at race pace. Furthermore, both Sainz and Leclerc say that his behavior is very “inconsistent”, making it even more difficult for him to express his potential. “It’s not an easy car. At the moment, we’re struggling a bit with unpredictability, with a very complex car, which is very difficult to predict with qualifying laps, race speed, tire wear, wind… and very It’s difficult to adapt,” Sainz said.
Thus, the SF-23’s problems added to the RB19’s great competition meant that the distance between Maranello and Milton Keynes was much greater than in previous seasons. One difference that Sainz explains bothers him the most. “It doesn’t hurt me much to finish fourth in the constructors or fifth or sixth in the drivers, the difference with Red Bull hurts me more,” the Ferrari driver said.
“If we were now fourth among manufacturers, but knowing that every weekend we have the opportunity to take pole position and win, it would be easy to accept”, he said.
“Red Bull has come out very quick this year and it has surprised us, not only us, I think Mercedes and Aston Martin would never have expected the difference,” he said.
Despite the difficulties Sainz has been facing at the start of the year, the Madrid man wanted to highlight the positive side. “Putting that aside, as a driver, I think I understand how I should drive this generation of cars. I understand how I want to set up the car to my liking and that gives me The weekend leaves fewer variables to think about.” ” They said.
“It has not been an easy start, but I feel that even though the car is more difficult than last year, I understand that difficulty better and I can set up and drive the car in my own way,” he concluded .