Sainz anticipates a more adaptable and user-friendly Ferrari. The SF-23 was a source of headaches.
Finishing 7th in the 2023 World Championship, Carlos Sainz slipped from 4th place just before the final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
The Spaniard thus dropped three positions in a single race, yet he maintains a positive outlook on his 2023 performance.
“My season was robust,” he insisted to AS. “Though it didn’t end as I wished, we made significant strides as a team, vying for greater outcomes than earlier in the year. This fills me with pride; the team is progressing. If we can advance further in 2024, we’ll be contenders.”
“The season’s end left a bitter taste, but I quickly shift focus to the upcoming year. Finishing fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh doesn’t alter one’s life significantly.”
Throughout the previous year, suspense lingered over who would rank behind Max Verstappen and Red Bull: McLaren, Aston Martin F1, Ferrari, and Mercedes frequently swapped positions as the second-strongest team.
But how does one convey to fans that such a season, overshadowed by Red Bull, was, in fact, thrilling?
“Beyond Red Bull, we witnessed a splendid display of Formula 1’s allure. Teams like McLaren, starting at the back and eventually leading the pack behind Red Bull, and Ferrari, clinching pole positions, challenging Red Bull for wins, and sometimes trailing 50 seconds behind, showcase the sport’s complexity. Mercedes’s performance is equally unpredictable, matching Red Bull’s pace in some races while experiencing drastic downturns in others, like in Brazil, leaving us baffled.”
“It’s the unpredictability, the variation of a captivating Formula 1 where, unfortunately, one team dominates without such variability, and that’s Red Bull.”
Could a more driver-friendly Ferrari emerge in 2024, as Sainz suggests?
For the coming year, Ferrari must take more than just small steps forward to challenge Red Bull.
How much does Carlos Sainz want the Ferrari to change – which, it seems, will undergo a 95% overhaul in 2024?
“Significantly. It’s said that the 2023 Ferrari suits me, that I like it. Frankly, it’s been a headache, not just for me but for my teammate and Ferrari too; it’s very perplexing. I don’t enjoy driving it; I’ve had to adapt a lot and try numerous setups.”
“I hope in 2024 our car will be more adaptable and easier to drive and tune. That we’ll have a better race car.”
Does Carlos Sainz feel Ferrari is now heading in the right direction?
“I believe so. The latter half of last season is testament to that. We aimed to maximize what we had, made fewer mistakes, and many things occurred beyond our control, but we managed to optimize our weekends and extract strong performances from the car.”
Is the Ferrari driver eagerly anticipating finally contending for world titles? Doesn’t he feel overly frustrated when, at best, he wins only one Grand Prix a year?
“No, I come to races to try and win them all. I’m realistic; with the current level of drivers and teams, winning a race is very complex. We’ve seen this in recent years. The goal is bigger than that. Yes, it’s a point of pride that in 2023, the only victory outside Red Bull was mine. We’re doing things right, but we can’t be content with just that; we must aim higher in 2024.”
Does Ferrari boast the grid’s premier driver duo?
To win more than one Grand Prix annually and gauge the 2024 Ferrari’s competitiveness, all eyes are on winter testing and the early races.
However, in terms of driver strength, Carlos Sainz is convinced: the Scuderia has the top line-up.
“Perhaps my view is biased since I’m one of the two drivers! But yes, I would advocate for our line-up to Ferrari. Not only are we quick and skilled, but Charles Leclerc and I also share a great rapport. I know this; we hold profound respect for each other on the track, pushing Ferrari forward. We’ve been teammates for three years with no incidents on the track. We consistently perform closely.”
But does Sainz believe the value of Ferrari’s line-up is sufficiently acknowledged externally?
“Every other team perceives our line-up as a Ferrari strength. I’m uncertain if media or fans view having two closely matched, swift drivers as a negative. However, if you consult the ten team principals in F1 and those truly versed in the sport, asking them about the ideal situation, they’ll tell you it’s always about having the fastest drivers who also maintain mutual respect and harmony. Whether we’re the fastest pair is indeterminable, but Charles and I have maintained respect on the track.”
Sainz eyes 2024 as Ferrari Sainz eyes 2024 as Ferrari Sainz eyes 2024 as Ferrari
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