Carlos Sainz makes Red Bull prediction as Ferrari chase down final pace gap

Oliver Harden
Carlos Sainz with a Red Bull logo alongside him

Could Carlos Sainz join Red Bull in 2025 to either partner or replace Max Verstappen?

Carlos Sainz has predicted that Red Bull will dominate the first third of the F1 2024 season, with Ferrari’s upgrades likely to come too late for the team to sustain a title challenge.

Ferrari have emerged as the most consistent threat to the dominant Red Bull team in the early weeks of the new campaign, getting at least one driver on the podium at all four races held so far.

Carlos Sainz makes ominous Red Bull F1 2024 prediction

Additional reporting by Pablo Hidalgo

Sainz has finished on the podium at every race he has contested in 2024, winning last month’s Australian Grand Prix after missing the previous round in Saudi Arabia with appendicitis.

Despite one-two finishes for Red Bull in Bahrain, Jeddah and Japan, Ferrari are not yet ruling out a potential title challenge with Sainz’s team-mate Charles Leclerc currently within 18 points of Max Verstappen and the team 21 points adrift in the Constructors’ standings.

Sainz, however, fears Red Bull will be out of sight by the time Ferrari’s upgrades improve the SF-24 car to a level capable of challenging the RB20 on a race-by-race basis.

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And he believes Ferrari’s title hopes are reliant on Red Bull slipping up as in Melbourne, where Verstappen retired after just three laps with a rear-brake issue.

Speaking to Spanish publication Diario AS, he said: “They will have an advantage in the first third of the season until we bring one or two upgrades that will make us more consistent.

“Maybe by then it will be too late to fight for the Championship.

“We will need more races like Australia, I don’t see Red Bull making mistakes often.

“It’s a pity, because I also missed a race and that cost us some points.

“At the same time though, we will do the best we can. It’s my last year at Ferrari and we have nothing to lose.”

Red Bull introduced their first major upgrade package of the season in Japan, featuring an innovative new inlet close to the car’s halo.

Despite a final gap of 20.8 seconds to Verstappen on race day, Sainz was encouraged that Ferrari were second-best to the updated RB20 at a circuit traditionally suited to Red Bull’s strengths.

He told Fox Sports Mexico: “This is a Red Bull track. We are not that far from them.

“They brought some updates that may have helped them to be even more in front so we will have to wait for ours.”

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