Carlos Sainz denies Spa Technical Directive was behind Ferrari struggles

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari garage. Belgian Grand Prix Spa August 2022.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has a drink before getting in his car. Belgium August 2022.

Carlos Sainz feels the Technical Directive introduced in Spa played no part at all in Red Bull’s dominance of Ferrari.

The Belgian Grand Prix marked the return of Formula 1 action after its summer hiatus, where for the first time a new Technical Directive was in force, aimed at the plank and skid blocks underneath the cars in a bid to reduce the impact of porpoising.

Most of the attention was on Mercedes and whether this would propel them back into contention at the front against Red Bull and Ferrari, but instead Max Verstappen delivered an all-conquering display at the wheel of the Red Bull RB18, winning comfortably from P14 on the grid.

For much of the season little had separated Red Bull and Ferrari, yet Sainz, Ferrari’s fastest qualifier in Spa, was over six tenths slower than Verstappen, before the Dutchman bossed the race.

 

 

So, has this TD put a spanner in the works for Ferrari? It would not be the first time. Back at the United States Grand Prix in 2019, a series on engine-related TDs coincided with a marked drop in performance for the Scuderia.

But Sainz made it clear that to his mind, Ferrari’s struggles were specific to the Spa track and nothing to do with the TD.

Asked how much the new floor regulations affected the result, Sainz told reporters: “Honestly, nothing. I think it’s a consequence of track characteristics and our package is not suiting this kind of track.

“We will see after Zandvoort. I think we need to go to Zandvoort, a high downforce track and see how we perform to take any conclusions but my feeling – and it’s just a feeling – is that we had a bit of an off weekend here with the way maybe the car was performing and the ratio of efficiency around here.

“And Red Bull had a great weekend, no, and this makes the gap particularly big, and I need to wait and see a few more races to analyse that.”

That being said, Sainz was not hiding the fact that the extent of Verstappen’s advantage came as a surprise.

After Zandvoort, Formula 1 heads to Monza for the last stage of the triple-header, with Sainz believing that Ferrari need to bring a better low downforce package to their home race.

“Yes, a bit,” he replied when asked if the margin of Red Bull’s superiority was surprising. “I think we would lie, if we wouldn’t say that.

“We are surprised because the gap was certainly much bigger, or the biggest we’ve seen all season across the two teams. And it’s certainly something that we didn’t expect. Which means we need to go back and analyse why, at this sort of track, we are so weak.

“And, yeah, we still need to analyse, take some conclusions and try to come up with a better low downforce package for Monza in case we are not so strong there also.”