Carlos Sainz makes major admission after Ferrari’s poor start to F1 2023

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari garage during testing. Bahrain, February 2023.

Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari garage during testing. Bahrain, February 2023.

Ahead of an upcoming major upgrade to his SF-23, Carlos Sainz admits Ferrari expected “much more” this season and were left surprised by Red Bull’s pace.

Having finished runner-up in last year’s championship, the Scuderia went into the new season declaring this year they’d fight for the championship titles as they’d not only resolved their power unit reliability problems but had also created a car of “unprecedented speed”.

They were wrong on both counts.

Charles Leclerc suffered engine issues at the very first race of the season, retiring from the Bahrain Grand Prix, while as yet neither driver has featured on the podium with Sainz’s P4 at the season-opener the team’s best result.

Their lack of pace has left the team trailing Red Bull by 97 points after just three races with Ferrari also behind Aston Martin and Mercedes in the standings.

“The truth is that it has not been an easy start to the season,” Sainz admitted in an interview with Mundo Deportivo.

“Everyone at Ferrari expected much more; having been fighting for pole positions and wins last year, I think we went into the races with that intention.

“We have been surprised by how quick the Red Bull is and how other teams like Aston Martin have improved.

“We have to work hard at the factory in Maranello, bring improvements to get back on the podium and fight for victory.” recommends

‘Positive numbers’ as Charles Leclerc tests new Ferrari SF23 in simulator

Carlos Sainz angered by ‘invented’ Audi rumours after being named top F1 target

Karun Chandhok proposes alternative penalty for Carlos Sainz Melbourne incident

Losing ground to championship leader Max Verstappen race after race, Sainz is down in fifth place in the standings and already 49 points off the pace.

But while he stopped short of saying the title is out of reach, adamant as long as the math says it’s possible he’ll keep chasing the points, he concedes the first goal is for Ferrari to get onto the podium.

“The objectives are clear: get back to the podium as soon as possible and win again,” he said.

“It is true that, with the advantage that Red Bull has right now, we are going to have to improve a lot if we want to be in the fight for victory.

“But in some race something could happen to the Red Bulls and Aston Martin and we can sneak in first, but for now we are going to need their help and we will have to focus on what we have.

“Even so, I keep going to all the races thinking that, as long as it is mathematically possible, you have to try to win races, maximise points and improve, which is what we have done in these first few races.

“If we had not had the sanction from Australia, we would now have another twelve important points, which at the end they don’t let me add, but it is what it is.”

Ferrari lodged a right to appeal Sainz’s Australian Grand Prix but that was turned down, the stewards declaring not only did Ferrari not bring any new information to the table but their own data proves the stewards’ case.