Carlos Sainz admitted his shock at the sheer breadth of different car designs on show in Barcelona, given the new restrictions in place.
The rulebook has been tightened around what the teams are able to put on their 2022 cars, but each car looks markedly unique in its own way in certain areas, and that was evident throughout the three-day unofficial pre-season testing in Barcelona last week,
Red Bull caught the eye with their aggressive undercut sidepods, Mercedes’ car is quite tightly packaged while Aston Martin have gone for a broader design base, all while the regulations were supposedly more restrictive than previous designs.
The reset involved in the brand new cars could be a reason for this, with the best solutions almost certain to be copied at some point this season, which is likely to lead to the cars looking more similar as 2022 wears on.
But with that being said, the Ferrari driver did not quite expect the differences between each team to be so stark – particularly with how close the lap times were overall.
“Honestly, I have been surprised by all of them,” Sainz told Marca. “How different we are from each other. They said it was going to be a restricted regulation, at least that’s what the engineers said, when it came to designing cars.
“But all of a sudden there are 10 cars that have nothing to do with each other. That gives you food for thought and above all it gives you arguments to believe that F1 is beautiful this year. I like to see these differences.
“I like that there are so many different cars and that the imagination of each group of engineers has flown to do different things. Then you’ll see that we’ll all get to a similar lap time. That’s the beauty of F1.”
Ferrari were widely considered to have had one of the strongest showings in Barcelona, completing more laps than any other team and appearing to be on the pace straight away, along with McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull, on early viewing.
Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc have been forthright in trying to dampen any thoughts of Ferrari being frontrunners for now, and said the statistics he has been shown do not suggest his team are ahead of the pack at the moment.
“We all try to make our guesses,” he said. “Our conclusions of how much fuel, DRS, battery and engine the others are using and it’s normal for the drivers to do that exercise.
“Their numbers say Ferrari are ahead according to them, but ours still say they are not. What I trust is what we have. Above all, I wouldn’t believe much about Mercedes, given what we’ve seen in recent years.”
Sainz ‘already felt differences’ following other cars
Carlos Sainz says that he is already feeling the differences with the new 2022 cars.