Carlos Sainz says he’s not going to blame Ferrari’s development route if the team’s new SF-23 doesn’t suit his style, the Spaniard saying it’s up to the drivers to adapt.
Last season Sainz struggled in the early part of the championship, the Spaniard out-scored by his team-mate Charles Leclerc who claimed two wins in the first three races.
While the Monégasque driver got off to a flier, Sainz recorded back-to-back retirements through first lap crashes. But as the season progressed the 28-year-old found some form and began to challenge Leclerc, even taking his maiden grand prix win at the British Grand Prix.
Alas Sainz’s improved form came as Ferrari were losing their way, Silverstone his only victory on his way to fifth place in the Drivers’ standings.
There was some speculation that Ferrari favoured one driver over the other with the car’s development, which of the two was favoured depended on the source.
The Spaniard says that’s never true, a team only wants to create the fastest car possible.
“I feel like there was a trend that people were saying the car was going my way or not. But that’s not true,” he said as per Motorsport-Total.com.
“I’m going to say frankly now that a Formula 1 car doesn’t go my way or towards the other driver.
“A Formula 1 car evolves to be faster. My job as a driver is to provide clues as to where the car is weak.
“I give that feedback, as does Charles. The team takes it and provides it faces data, draws their conclusions and hopes that the car will then be faster.”
Why no team wants to be top of the timesheet in F1 pre-season testing
From live demos to snowboarders to football icons: The F1 2023 car launches ranked
Fred Vasseur confident of Ferrari reliability fixes, ‘not a secret’ it needed improving
Sainz hopes SF-23 suits his natural style a little better
But while teams don’t generally favour one driver over the other, wanting two strong results, Sainz concedes sometimes the car is better suited to one driver’s style over the other’s.
He’s hoping this year’s Ferrari works better with his driving style, or least allows him room to adapt.
“I’m always optimistic and I hope it will go faster this time,” he added.
“Over the past year I’ve gone through some obviously difficult moments. We had a car that required a certain, very specific driving style. In those moments I adjusted and made it – a little late for my liking, but I adjusted.
“The car should have evolved and I felt like I was very close to the car’s limit last year and was driving at a very high level. So I’m confident I can pick up where I left off, and take a step in the right direction.
“I also hope that the car can adapt a little better to my driving style and that I can get off to a strong start to the season.”
‘Now it’s a matter of executing a plan’
Having driving the car in a short demo run at Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit, following that up the next day with a filming day, Sainz’s next outing in the car will be in Bahrain when pre-season testing begins.
Ferrari have yet to confirm which of the two drivers will be in action on Thursday morning at the Bahrain International Circuit.
But whoever gets that honour, Sainz says they’re both focused on the same goal which is putting Ferrari in the best position possible before the opening race of the season in Bahrain.
“It’s very clear in our heads where we want to make the steps and what we’re focusing on. I think pre-season has been smooth for us so far. Now it’s a matter of executing a plan, a very specific plan that we have for Bahrain , and implement it as well as possible,” said Sainz.
“I’ve worked hard over the winter to be well prepared and I’m confident I can do it and become an even better driver.
“So I know that once I find my groove this year and feel comfortable in the car, I’ll be able to perform very well. So I’m very excited about what’s to come this year and what I can reach as a driver.”