Sainz hopes Ferrari F1 power unit a match for Honda
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 28th February, 2023 - 7:59pm
Carlos Sainz hopes work by Ferrari on its F1 power unit over the European winter will see the Scuderia able to hold pace with Red Bull in 2023.
Ferrari last year was lacking somewhat compared to its Honda-powered rival, especially in top speed.
There is a freeze on power unit development in Formula 1, but changes are allowed for reliability or cost-saving reasons.
Ferrari had its share of reliability woes throughout 2022 with Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc suffering mechanical retirements.
The squad went so far as to reduce the power of its units midway through last season after a spate of issues.
Suggestions over the off-season claimed the Maranello squad’s revised unit produced as much as 30bhp more than a year ago.
Team boss Fred Vasseur denied those suggestions prior to pre-season, though the squad acknowledged reliability was an Achilles heel.
Heading into the new season, Sainz believes the Scuderia has made progress.
Sainz confident in Ferrari F1 power unit
“I don’t know the engine mode they’re [Red Bull] running and the exact rear wing compared to us, but I’m pretty confident we’ve done steps in the right direction in that sense,” he said.
“Part of the evolution of our car is to also try to be less draggy, and try to get close to Red Bull on the straights.
“I hope that we can be close,” he added.
“Are we going to be quicker or not, or the same, or able to battle them on the straights? We don’t know.”
Red Bull ended pre-season testing as favourites heading into the championship proper, which begins in Bahrain this weekend.
Sainz and Leclerc ran incident free throughout, logging 2250km between them 218 laps for the Spaniard and 199 for his Monegasque team-mate.
But while the car ran reliably, the narrative out of the scarlet garage looked to play down its hopes.
Leclerc stated on Saturday that the team “has work to do”, though whether that is the case or if it’s smoke and mirrors remains to be seen.
Ferrari does, however, again appear to be one of the early front runners along with Red Bull, Mercedes, and perhaps Aston Martin.
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