Pessimism at Ferrari heading into Italian GP
By Mat Coch
Friday 10th September, 2021 - 1:26pm
Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc are anticipating a difficult weekend for Ferrari at the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard suggests the flat-out Monza circuit is not suited to the Scuderia’s car, the SF21 being largely an evolution on last year’s machine.
There have been changes, notably to the power unit and airbox to tidy up the rear of the car, which has helped the team take a step forward in 2021.
Between Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc, the Italian marque has scored more points in the 12 races this season than it managed in 17 races last year.
However, its form has remained somewhat inconsistent.
Both Sainz and Leclerc struggled at the French Grand Prix, bouncing back to see the latter come close to victory in the British Grand Prix.
That followed on from pole position for Leclerc in Monaco, and another on the streets of Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
It’s the Silverstone performance in particular, however, that stands out after the team expected to struggle.
“Last year, this was probably the toughest race for the team in 2020,” Sainz warned of Ferrari’s Monza potential.
“We know we have some carryover weaknesses from last year car into this year’s car, because the car is obviously – there was not much of a change in the regulations, and we were not allowed to change it too much.
“But, I feel like this year the car should be stronger than last year, and at the same time, we’ve seen some surprises this year.
“For example, in Silverstone we expected to struggle and suddenly we had a really good pace, and in Monaco – okay this is not a Monaco, but there was a surprise.
“So, I expect it to be difficult,” he added.
“I think the top 10 is going to be expensive to get into, but we’re going to try our best.”
The Spaniard’s pessimism is shared by Leclerc on the other side of the garage.
Winner of the Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari in 2019, the Monegasque was less expansive but equally contained when it came to his expectations of the weekend ahead.
“It’s not going to be an easy weekend for us,” he warned.
“On paper, it is one of the most difficult tracks for us this year, but we’ll try to give everything.”
Just an hour of practice welcomes teams on Friday before the meaningful running gets underway with qualifying at 02:00 AEST on Sunday morning.