Having seen himself go from title contender to P5, Carlos Sainz has identified where Ferrari fell down in the 2022 season.
On the face of it, 2022 was a successful year for the Spaniard. He won his first race and secured more podiums in a single season then he had in the rest of his career but dig a little deeper and it shows the campaign was bittersweet one for the 28-year-old.
As it was for Charles Leclerc, Ferrari’s early season form promised more than what panned out. Sainz ended Bahrain second behind only Leclerc and was again on the podium in the following race in Saudi Arabia. But by the time of the Australian Grand Prix, problems that would be consistent throughout the season began to surface.
In Melbourne, he spun on turn nine of the second lap to beach himself in the gravel while in the next race at Imola, he collided with Daniel Ricciardo in the first lap.
Those were the first two of six retirements for Sainz in 2022 with no other driver failing to finish that many times.
This has led Sainz to pinpoint one clear area to improve for 2023, the grand prix itself.
“First of all, we have to get better in the Grands Prix,” the Ferrari driver said according to the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.
“We had a recurring thing, so we didn’t make good starts. In that fight [with Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi] I lost five or six seconds [due to a poor start].”
Sainz also stated that more must be done to improve the car throughout the season with the F1-75 arguably the quickest at the start of the campaign but then lagging behind both Red Bull and Mercedes by the final race in Abu Dhabi.
“We simply didn’t develop well,” the Spaniard said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, though. You also have to look at where we came from. If you look at the progress over the past two years, it’s great to see.”
Leclerc has said similar, stating in November that the team must learn “to be better on Sunday.”
New Ferrari leadership must eliminate embarrassing strategy mistakes
Whoever is given the almighty task of stepping into the Ferrari hot seat following Mattia Binotto’s resignation should have a pretty clear idea of where to focus first.
To the credit of the Ferrari mechanics and engineers, they built an excellent car for 2022 but the blame must go to the strategists for the way the season panned out.
Inaki Rueda is the sporting and strategy chief at Ferrari so will have played his part in choices that made both Leclerc and Sainz question the orders and that only brought further embarrassment on the team.
Both Leclerc and Sainz are right in identifying Sundays as the problem, Leclerc secured most pole positions this season after all, and the new team principal will need to be firm in laying down the law if Ferrari have any hope of mounting a serious title charge.