Ferrari battling ‘a lot of unknowns’ in knife-edge car – Sainz

This year has been a struggle for Ferrari and Carlos Sainz as the team is battling with an inconsistent car

This year has been a struggle for Ferrari and Carlos Sainz as the team is battling with an inconsistent car

Carlos Sainz believes Ferrari is “paying the price” in dealing with a car constantly “on a knife edge” during a grand prix.

Sainz at least emerged from the recent Miami Grand Prix “feeling a lot better” than he did after the previous weekend’s race in Azerbaijan where he lost all confidence in his SF-23 and he felt he was on the limit of crashing all the time.

Sainz managed to qualify third in Miami but dropped to fifth by the chequered flag, finishing 16 seconds adrift of third-placed Fernando Alonso, 11 theoretically due to a five-second time penalty applied for speeding in the pit lane.

The gap was primarily due to a woeful second stint after switching to the hard tyre.

“I was on the pace, I was fast all weekend, I was on the attack the whole weekend, but it’s true that in the race, with our car at the moment, it’s very tricky,” said Sainz.

“We have a lot of degradation, a lot of inconsistency from the car, and it makes our hard tyre stints very long and very, very unforgiving, and we were suffering out there.

“But we are in the middle of a learning process, and Miami will help us a lot to understand why we can again fight for pole, do a very good (first) stint on the medium, and push Fernando on the medium.

“But then suddenly you put on the hard tyre, you have three or four laps pushing to try and undercut, and you finish a long way behind a car against which you were actually quicker than on the medium.

“So we clearly need to understand why. At the moment, it’s very puzzling and very difficult to understand these things.

“It’s a very inconsistent car, it’s very picky. You’re driving properly on the limit, on a knife edge, as we’ve seen, but it seems that over the weekend we’re paying the price.”

Ferrari needs to keep digging

Given the inflexibility in the car, it means Ferrari is hamstrung when it comes to a race plan.

“You push one lap and you degrade, you go for an undercut and the race is too long,” added Sainz.

“It just means we cannot play around too much with our competitors in terms of strategy and a level of pushing to overtake them or undercut them.

“This leaves us with a lot of unknowns going into a race and a lot of things to learn because it’s clearly not where we want to be.

“But we will make sure we take steps in the right direction, and we will keep trying things.

“We need to keep digging for a deeper understanding because it’s going to give us a better understanding for the rest of the year.”

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