Ferrari deserved to miss out on P2 as Mercedes was “a little bit more consistent” in F1 2023 — Sainz

Spread the love

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

The weekend of the Abu Dhabi GP ended in a negative way just as it had begun for Carlos Sainz, who was truly disappointed. After the crash in FP2 and elimination in Q1, closed the GP with a retirement while he was P18, not bringing points to the Scuderia for beating Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship.

The weekend of the Abu Dhabi GP and the last round of the 2023 F1 season was undoubtedly the worst of his year for Carlos Sainz.

Data in hand, after the poor feeling with the single-seater (and in finding the ideal set-up) the poor adaptation to the Yas Marina track, the heavy crash during FP2 due to a bump in turn 3 and the elimination at the end of Q1 in Saturday’s qualifying, the Spanish driver was unable to reverse the trend, or even redeem himself in the race.

On the last lap, he was even forced to retire due to a problem with the power unit on his SF-23 while occupying an anonymous and truly disappointing eighteenth position.

A weekend to forget for the Madrilenian who arrived after the numerous difficulties that he, as mentioned, encountered from the first minutes of FP1 and which were never resolved during the weekend.

Difficulties which even worsened during the race, with a car full with fuel and a different strategy (but probably not too successful, starting on hard tyres) and which, in the most delicate moment of the championship, did not allow him and the team to collect the points necessary to overtake Mercedes for second position in the constructors’ standings.

A terrible and hard weekend to digest which, having arrived at the media pen as soon as he got out of his Ferrari, was analysed by Carlos Sainz himself.

He spoke first of all about the enormous difficulties encountered since FP1 and those faced in the race, also compromised by a strategy different from their rivals which did not work. Problems which, upon closer inspection, compromised two weekends for him: Vegas and Abu Dhabi.

“Today, the last two weekends — this last weekend in general — hasn’t gone like I expected or like we wanted to finish the year.

“Honestly I’m very disappointed and obviously not happy, given how close it was in the end with the constructors’ championship.

“We will have to sit down, analyse, see what we could have done better today and what was going on, because clearly the pace this weekend and the overall feeling with the car and everything in the end wasn’t good.”

A negative race in fact (even ending with a DNF), also compromised by a risky but ineffective race strategy: starting with hard tyres and hoping for a single stop. A strategy that didn’t work, neither in duration nor in performance which inevitably saw Sainz never looking like he could score points.

“We started on the hard, expecting the hard to help us do a one-stop.

“Again, like we’ve seen many times this year, whenever we start on harder compounds with our car, we struggle a lot and it was again today. We had nothing to lose starting 16th and we gave it a go, but in the end it didn’t work for us, this hard tyre. The harder compounds at the beginning of the race with the dirty air and the sliding just doesn’t work for us.

“Once we saw that we had very little chance of scoring points, we left it out for a Safety Car and it didn’t work out. Also we had to retire at the end with a [power unit] issue, so it’s not like it would have changed much.”

A result which, as mentioned, did not bring Ferrari the points necessary to overtake Mercedes for second place in the constructors’ championship, finishing only in third.

According to Sainz, a fair result since, despite the SF-23 being the faster car than the W14 in his opinion, Mercedes was more consistent.

A result coming after the growth of the entire team and learning a lot about the car and tyres since the beginning of the season. It will be an important element on which to build a good 2024 campaign, with a more competitive car most importantly.

“I think it’s fair. I think we’ve had our moments with where we’ve been quicker. I think Mercedes have had their moments when they’ve been quicker. Overall, maybe a bit of reliability here and there — probably overall I think we’ve been a quicker car — but they’ve been a little bit more consistent than us anyway.

“I think it’s a season where the team has made a lot of progress. I think we’ve learned a lot from this car, from these tyres. We’ve finished the season a lot stronger than where we started and it’s something we can bank on for next year, expecting hopefully a more competitive package.”