Carlos Sainz says Ferrari’s engineers are still scratching their heads to understand the reasons for the Scuderia’s unpredictable and inconsistent form.
The Italian team’s rider was no match for Red Bull’s dominant RB19 on race day this season, but his one-lap pace allowed Charles Leclerc to beat the bulls to take pole position in Azerbaijan last month.
Both Sainz and Leclerc have repeatedly stressed the car’s lack of consistency and pinnacle, traits Ferrari is trying to rectify with a development program that began in earnest in Miami.
However, the team made no significant changes to its SF-23 for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
“I think what we’re going through more this year is understanding the unpredictability of the car, not a lack of feel or anything like that,” explained Sainz.
“One session you are one with the car and the next for some reason something is wrong, the wind picks up, the track temperature rises and you are gone right away.
“It also affects us more on race day than on new tyres, soft, low fuel, and that’s something we’re trying to understand.
“But I feel like this year I’ve been on top of the car almost every weekend since first practice, and that’s a good step. It’s a shame the car isn’t as competitive this year as it was last year.”
So far this season, Leclerc has been faster at Ferrari, but Sainz has been more consistent than Monegasque in managing Ferrari’s 2023 package.
“I think on average, yes,” he confirmed. “Of course, Baku had that free weekend, but the other weekends I really was more on top; I know what a car needs.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s round of racing in the Principality, and while past results are not indicative of future results, Sainz suggests Ferrari could be in the mix again.
But for the Scuderia’s talented toreador, there’s likely to be no shaking off the mighty bulls on the streets of Monte Carlo.
“I think Monaco has always been good for us in the past,” he said. “Last year we were very strong, the year before that in ’21 with a relatively weak car we managed to get pole position here.
“So I think we have a good chance, but at the same time I think Red Bull is the favorite wherever we go because they have no weak points and they will definitely be a team to beat.”
Post Sainz: Ferrari is still trying to understand the ‘unpredictability’ of the SF-23 first appeared on F1i.com.