Carlos Sainz of Ferrari has expressed his concern and frustration with the continued struggle his team has faced with tyre degradation during the 2023 Formula 1 season, following his fifth-place finish in the 2023 Miami Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver’s comments reflect an ongoing issue that has plagued the Maranello team since last year.
Sainz had shown impressive performance during the early part of the Miami race, keeping pace with compatriot Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin.
However, an attempt to undercut Alonso by pushing the tyres to their limit for several laps resulted in Sainz dropping to fifth place behind Mercedes’ George Russell.
Speaking to media ahead of the Monaco GP, Sainz said that the current Ferrari lacks flexibility in pushing the tyres without compromising their performance for the remainder of the race.
“We tried the undercut on Fernando [Alonso], which did work,” Sainz told the media. “But it meant pushing the tyres for three our four laps to get the undercut. For some reason with our car right now, we have zero flexibility with how much we can push. I had to stay under the limit for the rest of the race if I wanted to make it to the end.”
Sainz also pointed out that the unpredictable wind conditions in Miami exacerbated Ferrari’s tyre degradation problem, making the race especially challenging.
“At the moment I cannot push, especially in the race. As soon as you push one lap, you do a good fast lap and then the next lap you’re three tenths slower,” said
“We don’t have flexibility to push and push, and we just need to follow a certain pace if we need to make it to the end.”
Reflecting on the 2023 season overall, Sainz feels that the Ferrari vehicle, despite having a strong rapport with it, suffers from unpredictability, which has more effect on race day compared to fresh tyres, low fuel sessions.
“I think what we are going through more this year is the understanding and unpredictability of the car rather than really having a lack of feeling or anything like that,” he said.
“It’s just one session you’re at one with a car and then the next session for some reason there’s something a little off, the wind picks up, the track temperature goes up, and you’re immediately not there,” he expressed.
Despite these challenges, Sainz retains a positive outlook, underlining his progress in getting “on top of the car” every weekend.
He also revealed his amusement at recent media speculation regarding his physical condition, seemingly caused by an incident in the paddock, dismissing it as “clickbait” journalism.
“Some of your colleagues had already decided I wouldn’t be racing this weekend,” Sainz said with a chuckle. “But yeah, it’s just useless, unnecessary, to create a headline that has no base or no information. And yeah, I’m totally fine.”