Sainz admits Ferrari ‘relatively concerned’ about F1 reliability
By Mat Coch
Friday 17th March, 2023 - 3:08am
Carlos Sainz has admitted Ferrari is “relatively concerned” about reliability following the F1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sainz finished fourth last time out, ceding the final podium position to Fernando Alonso in the latter laps as he struggled to keep life in his hard compound Pirelli tyres.
However, of greater concern was that Charles Leclerc was forced into retirement on Lap 40 of the race after suffering a sudden failure in his SF-23.
It followed the replacement of the controlled electronics in his car after qualifying.
The Monegasque driver will serve a 10-place grid penalty into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after having to take the third such unit ahead of this weekend’s race.
Ferrari reliability concerns
“For sure we are relatively concerned,” Sainz admitted in reference to Ferrari’s reliability issues.
“It’s not the way you want to start a season, with a penalty in Race 2 and breaking the battery, the ECU in the first weekend.
“Clearly we are not happy with that and we identify it as a weakness.
“But this is the first time we’ve seen this failure in a very, very long time, so it caught us by surprise,” he added.
“We’re putting things in place to fix it and I’m pretty sure that we were capable of fixing that in the short term.
“It’s a bad situation, but now we can only look forward and improve.”
Lack of performance to Red Bull
Ferrari found itself trailing Red Bull in Bahrain, unable to match its Milton Keynes rivals especially when it came to tyre performance.
While the Scuderia was forced to take two sets of hards to reach the flag, having started on a set of softs (and even saving a set in the case of Leclerc), both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez used two sets of sorts in their first two stints before switching to the slower white-walled rubber.
Coupled with the single-lap pace the Red Bull enjoyed, it saw the squad dominate the race and record a comfortable one-two.
Worse still was that Ferrari found itself out-gunned by Aston Martin in the latter stages, with Alonso racing by Sainz for third on Lap 45 of 57.
The Ferrari driver had stopped on Lap 55, moving onto a second set of hard compound tyres, with his Aston Martin rival in the lane only three laps later.
Such was Alonso’s pace advantage in the latter stages that he was not only able to pass Saiz, but manage his pace to protect his car and still finish 9.4s ahead.
Fresh challenge in Jeddah
However, with the Jeddah circuit this weekend offering an altogether different challenge, with greater emphasis on high speed versus Bahrain two weeks ago, Sainz is optimistic of a better showing.
“The track is completely different to Bahrain; the tarmac, the high-speed nature, the wing level that we will run, everything is just a bit different,” Sainz explained.
“I have a feeling that we’re going to be a bit more competitive.
“Enough to beat the Red Bulls? Given how competitive and how strong they were in Bahrain, it’s going to be difficult.
“But I want to be more optimistic after Bahrain and feel like this weekend, we have a good chance to get back on the podium.”
Opening practice in Saudi Arabia begins at 16:30 local time on Friday (00:30 AEDT Saturday).
Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section
Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]