Sainz: Windy conditions at Silverstone a key test to “assess Ferrari’s progress”

Spread the love

Ferrari are showing signs of recovery in the 2023 season following their recent updates to the car. After a very difficult Spanish Grand Prix where Carlos Sainz was a distant P5 and Charles Leclerc failed to score points, they’ve come back strong in the last two races.

In Canada, they recovered from starting outside the top 10 to finish P4 with Leclerc and P5 with Sainz. On track in Austria, it was 2nd and 4th respectively before Sainz got his post-race penalty to drop him to P6.

It was very clear in Austria that they had the second fastest package in both qualifying and the race.

Speaking on media day ahead of the British Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz doesn’t want to get too excited by the recent upturn in form and says more samples are needed before concluding Ferrari have made a big step.

The winner of last year’s British Grand Prix added the exposed nature of Silverstone should give Ferrari a good idea of how they will do at a venue with a good level of wind swirling about.

“We don’t know. I think we need maybe a more open, windy circuit like Silverstone to evaluate it.

“Normally we’ve been struggling more in windy conditions like Miami, Baku in the race sometimes. I think we need more samples to assess our progress and our upgrade package.

“What I can tell you is that the car felt better in Austria, both over one lap and in the race. But we were also very quick in Austria last year.

“I’m still being cautious and letting the circuits and the season go by to analyse it.

“But I’m proud of the way the team reacted and the amount of upgrades that we’ve been bringing recently.”

Ferrari had big difficulties in the early stages of 2023 as they tried to understand the SF-23.

Both drivers complained of the car changing on different sets of tyres throughout the race and even the balance changing from one lap to another in the same corner.

However, Sainz agrees with Jock Clear that the Spanish Grand Prix was key in assessing and understanding the weaknesses of the SF-23 package.

“The race weekend was a fair assessment. The Pirelli test unfortunately you cannot test much, apart from obviously tyres.

“But in the race weekend I did test a few things in the car that allowed me to understand a bit better where our weakness was and how we could assess it.

“It gave us a pretty clear direction on where to develop. I think that’s paying off now. We are on the right track, I’m pretty sure. Have we turned the corner? I want to believe so.

“But as I said, we need a bit more samples. We need a windy weekend maybe to assess, even if it means we will struggle a bit more in these conditions.”

A key area in making gains has been to solve the instability of the package as was visibly shown during the weekend in Miami especially.

Sainz does believe the instability issues and tyre management problems are connected. Nonetheless, he saw an important improvement in Austria.

Along with that, how the SF-23 handles in the dirty air of another car is something they’re trying to get on top of.

“I think they are connected. I don’t think we are doing anything particularly wrong with tyres.

“I think it’s more the way our car behaves in the race, with the wind, with the instabilities that we have. Inconsistencies also affect your race pace. I think your inconsistencies also affect your tyre deg.

“The more snaps, the more moments you have during the race, the worse the tyre management is always going to be. We were struggling with that. Austria was a lot better.

“Dirty air also is something that affects us quite a bit. So, yeah, as you can see, there are many things out there that we are trying to get under control.”

Another area of improvement for Ferrari has been in high speed corners. The SF-23 was brutally exposed in Barcelona because of that.

Sainz confirmed that a solid gain was made in Austria, but they’re still lacking to the likes of Red Bull and McLaren.

“By looking at GPS data, we are a lot closer in Austria in terms of minimum speeds of the high speed than we were in Barcelona. We are still not at the level of Red Bull.

“Even McLaren was very quick in the high speed corners, quicker than us. But at least we were not the last team in high speed corners, which is where we were in Barcelona.

“So, good progress, good understanding there and good upgrades. If we keep them coming and if we keep it in this direction, we could turn around the season soon, hopefully.”

Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari