Sainz: Ferrari “still have this bouncing phenomenon” in high speed corners as he only manages P6 in F1 Spanish GP qualifying

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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The Barcelona circuit presents a significant challenge. It’s a track with all types of corners, testing all cars and leaving the teams with nowhere to hide.

Ferrari, hoping for a strong position, introduced a new upgrade package that showed promise in practice sessions following a disappointing race in Canada. Carlos Sainz was fastest in final practice.

However, during qualifying, it became evident that Ferrari was not in contention for pole position, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz qualifying fifth and sixth respectively.

After the session, Sainz shared his thoughts, explaining how the team realised pole was out of the question in Q2 when Verstappen banged in a 1:11.6.

In the end, both Mercedes drivers also got ahead of the Ferraris.

“Unfortunately, around Q2, we kind of realised that Red Bull, when they turned it up, and McLaren, when they turned it up, they had an edge over us.

“Disappointed, because honestly, after FP3 practice, I thought we had a chance to fight for pole position this weekend.

“But very quickly in Q2, we realised we were just a step too far. So yeah, we could sit here and argue three hundredths more, we would be in P3.

“But the reality is that I’m looking more at the gap to Lando than the gap to the Mercedes because three-tenths and a half is a lot of lap time around Barcelona.”

With only 0.474s covering the top 7 drivers, the session proved to be very close, with Gasly pushing the Ferraris hard in the final segment.

“I don’t know what happened to Checo and Oscar, but honestly, the Red Bull and the McLaren seemed a bit out of reach.

“The Mercedes within a tenth of us, and the two Mercedes drivers ahead of the two Ferrari drivers.

“So it’s extremely tight, extremely good fun, because it is good fun out there. But at the same time, I expected a fight for pole, or at least to be within a tenth, tenth and a half of the Red Bull or the McLaren, and we were three and a half, which is yeah, quite a big gap.

“At the same time, when we look at Suzuka, China, medium high-speed tracks, long corners, reminds me of Barcelona, and there we were also quite a big step far.”

Porpoising has been a problem for Ferrari since the introduction of the ground effect cars in 2022, although their car initially at the start of that yeas was the fastest.

Sainz says it has appeared again this weekend, costing them valuable lap time, especially in the high speed corners at the end of the lap.

“No, we’ve been struggling all weekend with the high speed corners. We still have this bouncing phenomenon that gives us a very tough time in the high speed corners. Probably this is also killing a bit the tyre for the third sector.

“I don’t know, still the third year of these regulations, I’m fighting this porpoising in high speed corners when you put lateral load in the car, and it’s been tough all weekend to try and get rid of it, and still we haven’t managed to get rid of it.

“We come to this track, and you can see McLaren and Red Bull zero bouncing, and I think they’re doing a good job.”

When asked about the effectiveness of the upgrades, the 3-time race winner says they seem to be solid. However, a bigger step like Mercedes and McLaren has produced is required.

“Yes, they seem to be working fine.

“Three and a half tenths with all the upgrades that everyone’s bringing. You go back to Suzuka in Japan, we were three and a half tenths, half a second maybe, a bit more. It’s just, I think, very track-dependent right now for everyone.

“The only clear ones that they’ve joined the fight is Mercedes, and that Miami upgrade from McLaren has put them from a step back from us to a step forward.

“We just keep digging and keep trying to bring things. We’re probably going to need to find something to unlock some more performance in this kind of medium-high-speed tracks, where the bouncing and the ride is still important.”

Looking ahead to the race, Sainz acknowledged the challenge of starting in P6 at a circuit where overtaking is difficult.

He emphasied the importance of strategy to gain positions.

“I think it might be a two-stop race, so strategy-wise, we can still do things. It’s just the starting position in Barcelona is fundamental.

“Obviously, we’re starting a bit too far back, but I don’t know, I’m hoping that we can still do a good race, especially if we get a good start, we get in the mix, and then you’re playing with undercuts, overcuts, and it could be a good race.”