Carlos Sainz has admitted that he and his Ferrari team were surprised to be so far off the pace this soon in the 2023 Formula 1 season, but indicated they do have a way to address the lack of performance.
The Italian outfit were well off the pace in Saudi Arabia with both Sainz and Charles Leclerc finishing well behind the Mercedes and Aston Martin contingent that saw the chequered flag.
Having been as quick as Red Bull at times in 2022, Sainz is at a loss as to how they have fallen so far behind but takes encouragement from the collective understanding of the problem at hand.
“Yes, it was a surprise for us to see that we are not as strong as we were last year,” Sainz told the media. “We are not very competitive right now, especially in race pace.
“We simply haven’t done a good enough job and we realise that, we see that and the good thing is we know where the problem is.
“Now we are going to do everything we can to revert the situation as quickly as possible. It is going to be a matter of one race so it will be more of a medium-term plan.”
Crumb of comfort
There hasn’t been much to cheer for Ferrari fans other than some decent qualifying pace but Sainz is convinced that the thought power of the team is capable of bridging the gap to Red Bull more than any other team.
“The positive thing, I think, is that we all agree on where the weaknesses lie,” Sainz continued. “And we can see it on the data as well.
“This has, at least, given us a very clear direction to take for upgrades. How long will it take? It’s impossible for me to tell because the gap to Red Bull is very big.
“It’s going to be very difficult to bridge that gap but if there is any team capable of doing it, it’s Ferrari.”