Following the opening race of the 2023 season, it’s become clear that Ferrari’s hopes of competing with Red Bull may have been overly optimistic. While many experts predicted that Ferrari would be Red Bull’s closest rivals this year, the Bahrain Grand Prix showed that Red Bull have increased their advantage in both race and qualifying pace.
Carlos Sainz, one of Ferrari’s two drivers, spoke candidly about the team’s situation in the aftermath of the race. When asked if he was surprised by not being able to hold on to the final podium place, he said, “Not too much. I was actually surprised how long we were lasting in that position. From the test we knew that the Red Bulls and the Aston Martins just have a lot better degradation, a lot better race pace than us.”
Sainz acknowledged that Ferrari had to settle for fourth place and that it was a reality check for the team. He added, “It’s a bit of a reality check, it’s where we are. We just used the tyres too much. As soon as I pushed to defend from Fernando, I cooked the tyres and then you need to start looking also to Lewis. We managed to hold Lewis off, but it gives us very little margin to play with in the race.”
He also expressed his concern about Ferrari’s reliability issues, saying, “Not ideal the reliability, but more than that it worries me the gap to Red Bull and the race pace of Aston, which at the moment is faster.”
Looking ahead to the future, Sainz remained optimistic, saying, “I don’t believe it will be like that at every race. A lot of work to do. We need to put our heads down, get the homework done and it’s only race one, so we still have margin of improvement.”
Despite Sainz’s optimism, the reality is that Ferrari has a lot of catching up to do if they want to compete with Red Bull and Aston Martin this season. While it’s still early days, the team will need to address their issues with race pace and reliability if they hope to mount a serious challenge for the championship.