Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc both admitted the team are not competitive enough, after a difficult Friday at Zandvoort.
The switch from low to high downforce appears to have gone against the strengths of the Ferrari SF-23, with Leclerc’s P11 placing in FP2 the highest of the day for the Scuderia in Dutch Grand Prix practice.
There is plenty of food for thought as the drivers look to extract more speed on Saturday, with Sainz having been replaced by junior driver Robert Shwartzman for FP1.
Carlos Sainz: Ferrari need to ‘find lap time, downforce, balance…’
Sainz only had one session to get up to speed around the seaside circuit in the Netherlands, with the Spaniard having jumped back in his cockpit to replace Shwartzman after sitting out as Ferrari opted to use a mandatory rookie session in FP1 on Friday.
But after having a tricky session, the 28-year-old admitted there is work to be done overnight to try and get more from the car.
“When I jumped in the car this afternoon obviously it wasn’t an easy session,” Sainz told Formula1.com’s Will Buxton after Friday’s running.
“Getting back up to speed is never easy around a circuit like Zandvoort, but I got up to speed fairly quickly and unfortunately, we don’t look very competitive yet.
“We’re going to need to find some lap time, find some downforce, find some balance because today was a tough day for the team.
“I think we saw something similar in Hungary where we go to higher downforce tracks. For some reason, we don’t pick up as much downforce as maybe the others when we go into the bigger rear wings, and we need to find out and we’re trying to find out why.
“So yeah, a bit of homework to do on our side to see why when we go to these higher downforce tracks, we seem to slide more than the others.”
Leclerc on the other hand was somewhat more optimistic, with small gains in time making a big difference to the team’s standing come qualifying around Zandvoort.
That said, he still feels there was more to be found from within the car on Friday.
“Not great,” Leclerc said when asked for his summary of the day.
“We’ve had quite a few difficulties, FP1 was really difficult, FP2 went in the right direction but we still need to do a step forward for tomorrow.
“Having said that, everybody is so close that if you improve from two [or] three tenths, we are basically third or fourth or something like this.
“So yeah, the feeling wasn’t great. There’s a big margin to improve but now we need to do a step forward and find what was wrong for tomorrow.”