Carlos Sainz says he does not believe anything of what he saw from Mercedes or any other team in pre-season testing.
Mercedes head into the 2021 campaign looking for an eighth Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship-double in a row, but the three days in Bahrain have cast a little bit of doubt.
But Sainz is not believing anything of what he saw.
“I believe nothing about Mercedes or what I see from the other teams. It’s still too soon,” he told Mundodeportivo.com.
Sainz made the switch to Ferrari for 2021, a dream come true, though only three days of pre-season testing did not give him much time to prepare behind the wheel of the SF21.
“I don’t know when I’m going to be 100% with the car, but I think we’ll have to wait for more races,” he explained.
“More or less, what we’re seeing from the car is what we expected. We are happy with what we see and relatively satisfied with the correlation between track and simulator. And now what needs to be seen is where the others are.
“The Red Bull looks good, the McLaren I’m sure it’s going to be there, because the car, just with a smaller engine, that already allows you to improve the aerodynamics of the car and have more power, better and better.
“So McLaren is going to take a step forward. Alpine doesn’t look bad either, and now it is time to wait and see what Ferrari can do.”
Sainz said he can not make too many conclusions about the performance of the SF21 as he did not experience its predecessor, the SF1000.
But his team-mate Charles Leclerc, who has been with Ferrari since 2019, did not have any bad words to say about the SF21, which Sainz takes encouragement from.
“I can’t compare it with anything because I don’t know last year’s car and so I don’t really know how much progress has been made,” he said.
“In theory, this year’s cars are going to be slower, they are going to have other characteristics, and therefore, Charles not talking bad about the car is already a positive thing.
“I for my part am focusing more on myself, on trying to learn about the car, the team, trying to adapt, to be comfortable… so I can’t afford to make comparisons yet because I don’t have that experience.
“For me at the moment the car is not at 100% and I’m not at the limit at all, so I don’t think it’s too difficult to drive.”
#F1Testing through the lens 📸
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Asked when he will start to feel comfortable with the SF21, Sainz replied: “I would like to know exactly. I don’t know when I’m going to be 100% with the car, but I think we’ll have to wait for more races, because above all there are experiences, qualis, races, that until you experience them, until things happen to you, you can’t take steps forward.
“Things have to happen to you, you have to do race situations, qualifying situations, put the car in that situation to get the experience.
“You have to take into account that with McLaren I did about 40 qualis and thousands and thousands of laps both in test and race and that gives you a confidence and a knowledge of the car that today with the 100 total laps I have with the Ferrari, compared to the 10,000 I had in the McLaren is nothing.
“So, I’m going to have to wait, I’m going to have to work hard and live experiences to learn and get different things to understand how this car works.”