While Ferrari endured a rough weekend at Zandvoort, Carlos Sainz says the swings in their performance throughout F1 2023 mean they could return to being the second-fastest team at their home race.
The Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort is an event which Ferrari will be glad to move on from, one where their SF-23 challenger looked all out of sorts at times during free practice, while Charles Leclerc crashed out of qualifying to trigger one of several Q3 red flag stoppages.
Leclerc would then retire from the race due to floor damage, while Sainz was able to give his team the slight comfort of a P5 finish.
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper
Carlos Sainz optimistic for Ferrari performance upturn at Monza
1996 World Champion Damon Hill predicted that Ferrari would be getting “pasted” by the media back in Italy after their Zandvoort woes, meaning they do not have much positive momentum with their home race, the Italian Grand Prix, next up.
Sainz though looks to Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps track, where Leclerc scored a P3 finish, for inspiration that Ferrari can return to form on a comparable high-speed circuit, but one where this time the Tifosi will be watching on in expectation of a strong performance.
“Next weekend Monza I think we should be back to a decent place,” Sainz predicted when speaking to media including PlanetF1.com.
“I know it sounds positive or optimistic right now, but our performance swings this year is so high that we could also be looking at being back to second or third-fastest car in Monza.
“In front of the Tifosi, especially after such a good result in Spa, so I’m more optimistic about that, and while it has been a tough weekend, we still managed to finish in the top five.”
Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur concurred with his driver on the fluctuations in performance, though believes that is a trait from P2 to P12 behind Formula 1’s dominant force Max Verstappen, who secured his record-equalling ninth win in a row with victory on home soil at Zandvoort.
“What we can expect is that from one weekend to the other one that even if Max is always at the top of the list, that between P2 and P12 it’s a complete different order,” Vasseur told media including PlanetF1.com.
“In Spa we were in a very good shape, this weekend it was a bit more difficult for us, even if I think the potential was better than the result, that’s for sure.
“Each weekend now it’s we have to start from scratch and nobody can say who will be in front, but we were not expecting also the result of Williams yesterday [Alex Albon qualifying P4], also the Williams performing on the high-speed tracks, but on the paper one what was not the favourite one for them, and they did very well.
“But it means that with this kind of convergence of performance, every single detail on the approach, driver management, tyre management, drivers and so, can make a difference bigger than the difference of the package and at the end, you don’t know.
“Nobody knows before the weekend what could be the classification? And it’s good for F1. But sometimes it’s putting a bit of pressure on the system!”
Ferrari remain P4 in the Constructors’ standings and saw their deficit to Aston Martin a position ahead grow to 14 points following the Dutch Grand Prix.