Saudi Arabia GP | Sainz: “I trust my team, I trust the development plan”

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This time last year Ferrari was celebrating a triumphant return to form, fresh off a 1-2 finish in Bahrain that saw them take the lead in both championships for the first time since 2018.

This year, however, Ferrari has evidently fallen back. The Maranello-based team started the season with an unfortunate DNF for Charles Leclerc in Bahrain, which in turn led to a 10-place grid penalty in just the second round of a 23-race season. The race in Saudi Arabia wasn’t exactly the redemption drive they had been hoping for, either—the Ferrari duo finished only 6th and 7th, struggling with pace on a track that, on paper, was expected to suit the SF-23.

Photo: Scuderia Ferrari

Speaking to the media post-race in Jeddah, Carlos Sainz insisted he believes the team can make up ground in the upcoming races.

“I trust my team, I trust the development plan, I trust the conclusions we are taking, I trust Ferrari. It’s Ferrari and we will develop, it’s just that we have had a tough start to the season, this confirms it. But the alarms don’t need to come up, we just need to do a very good job.”

Sainz also pointed out that it has been difficult to follow cars in dirty air, adding that the SF-23 suffers from overheating as a result.

“I think the biggest struggle has been the car in dirty air, the first stint in Bahrain and the first stint here. It’s just very difficult to follow at the moment with this car and as soon as you get in dirty air, we already have overheating on our own.”

He acknowledged that the team is eager to fight for wins and podiums, but until then, the focus will be on delivering consistent results: “We are not there yet and until we are there, it’s time to bring the points and get our heads down on the development.”

While Ferrari were Red Bull’s biggest challengers last year, this season the championship battle is shaping up to be fought internally between Verstappen and Perez.

Sainz weighed in on this, saying: “I’ve never been a fan of being concerned of one team dominating. Because if they are, they’ve done such a good job, they deserve it.”

“Unfortunately this is, let’s say, a cars’ sport more than a drivers’, that makes the difference more. Although Red Bull have a very strong lineup obviously.”

“But if a car is really good, all the other drivers cannot do much to stay in the fight. It’s the nature of Formula 1 and we’ve seen it in the past, it’s nothing new. And today the recovery for Max from 15th proves that they are in another league.”