‘Ferrari are starting to get tired of Carlos Sainz, future is on the wire’

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz head down putting on his cap. Australia April 2023

Carlos Sainz head down putting on his cap. Australia April 2023

Ferrari are running out of patience with Carlos Sainz, declares Spanish newspaper El Nacional, with the driver “not performing in the team as expected”.

Ferrari arrived on this year’s grid with high expectations, the Italian team convinced that in their SF-23 they had a car capable of taking the fight to Red Bull for the championship titles.

But instead it’s been a disappointing start to the season with the car not only lacking of downforce but, like its predecessor, it’s a tyre-eater. It’s left Sainz and his team-mate Charles Leclerc lagging not only behind Red Bull but also Aston Martin and Mercedes.

It’s also opened the Scuderia up for criticism with Sainz the latest to bear the brunt, El Nacional declaring he’s been a disappointment for Ferrari.

Labelling the first three races of this year to be Ferrari’s “worst start to a season since 2009”, El Nacional continued: “And the expectations only get worse. Seeing what happened, they seem far from improving.”

And the Spanish newspaper believes Ferrari are blaming Sainz for that.

“To this we must add that Ferrari are starting to get tired of Carlos Sainz,” the report continued. “The Spanish driver is not performing in the team as expected, and they are getting fed up with the excuses from Madrid.

“The truth is that, for some time now, at Ferrari they are beginning to be upset with Sainz.

“He has not performed as expected. He has disappointed. They thought he would be a star driver and he is not showing it.

“If he wants to continue, he must begin to show why he was trusted. But, at the moment, there is no hint of that.”

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Strangely, while Sainz has scored 20 points to his team-mate’s six, El Nacional goes onto speak about Leclerc being the “star” at Ferrari and his annoyance with Sainz’s antics in qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix not boding well for Sainz’s future.

“As if that were not enough,” the report added, “Charles Leclerc has also put a hand in this matter. He is very angry with his team-mate for not helping him at the Australian Grand Prix.

“Leclerc, at Ferrari, is seen as a star. Thus, the future of Sainz in the Italian team is on the wire.”

Where did Ferrari go wrong with the SF-23?

Speaking earlier this season Sainz revealed Ferrari may have dropped the ball when it came to this year’s floor regulations, and the tweaks implemented by the FIA to minimise porpoising.

Somewhere in Ferrari’s design of the SF-23 they got it wrong, Sainz admitting earlier this season they had expectations of the revised floor regulations and how they’d impact the car – “a bit more peaky, less downforce” – only to realise during pre-season testing that rivals had “not suffered from the changed regulations, they are much quicker than last year.”

That left the team with a car that was unbalanced, lacking in downforce and suffering with high degradation, not a big problem in qualifying but a huge one over a grand prix distance.

The Scuderia are working hard to reverse that but it will take time, there’s no quick fix or magic bullet in Formula 1 with the team reportedly set to bring a massive upgrade at round five, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

For now, while Ferrari work on reviving their fortunes, Sainz has urged fans and the media to tone down the criticism.

“It’s just that [excessive criticism] doesn’t help. And that lack of help isn’t exactly what we need right now,” Sainz said.

“That’s why we try to stay away from such comments. We don’t need any additional distractions or other people who drag us down.”