Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Ferrari’s struggle in Spain “a bit shocking” but Canada should be better – Sainz

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr admitted the Spanish Grand Prix showed Ferrari are experiencing “fundamental” problems with their car’s lack of pace.

However he believes the Circuit de Catalunya was always going to be a poor venue for the tea, and suspects the slower corners at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, scene of this weekend’s race, will suit them better.

“We keep talking a lot about tyres and degradation, but I think there’s also a bit more of a fundamental problem with the race pace rather than just degradation,” Sainz explained. “Honestly, my analysis or the team analysis is that we just lack race pace at the moment.

“We need to make a car that is kinder on tyres but also more consistent with the aero and allows us to stay a bit more on the limit of the car during the whole race. At the moment it just feels like we’re having to back off a bit.

“We’re doing our best, every weekend we’re trying different things every week and we have new ideas, we have new bits in the car. Every weekend we try something with tyres, if it’s not tyres it’s with the suspension, if it’s not it’s with the aero. So we cannot fault the fact that we’re trying everything and I’m sure we will get to the bottom of it.”

He admitted the team “are all frustrated but also motivated to change” having failed to win a race since July last year. He believes their SF-23 has continued a trait which developed in their car during 2022 and has worsened.

“It’s something we started seeing towards the end of last year, when we were still sticking it on pole in Austin, very close to pole in many circuits, even Abu Dhabi at the end of the year – but then we saw that in the race we were clearly behind Red Bull.

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“It’s a carry-over, but maybe an exaggeration this year with the car that we have because at least last year we could still do pole positions and then maybe be a couple of tenths behind. But this year it is a bit more.”

The team brought a significant upgrade to the Spanish Grand Prix but did not see a substantial improvement in their performance. Sainz believes that was partly due to the characteristics of the track.

“I felt like we did important steps in our understanding and learning of the car, which we’re going to try and put together here,” he said. “And if not, we’ll keep trying, we will keep going. I see a factory full of energy to correct the situation and the feeling.

“Barcelona was probably the worst possible place to bring this package to because it was always going to be our most difficult race of the year so far. So it was a bit shocking maybe for everyone and for us too. But if you have new parts you need to bring them and you need to try them and hopefully they will work better here in Canada.”

Given the car’s performance in slow corners this year, Sainz is hopeful the Canadian Grand Prix will be one of their better races.

“Monaco was a good weekend in general,” he said. “The car gave me a good feeling. It was maybe on Saturday we lost a bit of performance compared to Friday, which we were analysing the other week.

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“But Baku, I had an off weekend there, and I’m pretty sure something was wrong with the car because it was not normal. But since then honestly Australia we were a very quick in low-speed, Baku we were very quick in low speed, even Barcelona we were quick in the low speed even if you cannot tell because of how bad we were everywhere else.

“The car has some good traits down there that we are trying to exploit. Canada is more on the low speed side, and so that’s why we were hoping maybe that the new package also is helping. So that’s why we’re trying to stay optimistic.”

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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One comment on “Ferrari’s struggle in Spain “a bit shocking” but Canada should be better – Sainz”

  1. the Circuit de Catalunya was always going to be a poor venue for the tea,

    Sure, it is easier to get a good coffee than a cuppa there

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