Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr has shared his opinion on how his own team fared during pre-season Formula 1 testing, and that of his rivals in Bahrain.
Sainz has switched from McLaren to Ferrari for the 2021 F1 season, a move many have questioned given the state of affairs at Ferrari last year which saw them endure one of their worst seasons in history.
The Spaniard though remains confident the Scuderia are in a far better position than they were this time last year.
“More or less what we are seeing from the car is what we expected,” Sainz told Spain’s Mundo Deportivo. “We are happy with what we are seeing and relatively satisfied with the correlation between track and simulation.”
However Sainz remains cautious given what he’s seen from the test and the improvements Ferrari’s rivals are likely to have made, including at his old team, McLaren.
“The Red Bull looks good, the McLaren I am sure it will be there, because the car, simply with a smaller engine already allows you to improve the aerodynamics of the car and you have more power, so it’s a win-win. So McLaren is going to step forward for sure. Alpine doesn’t look bad either,” he added.
Asked about Mercedes’ struggles in what appeared to be one of their worst pre-season performances, Sainz is dubious.
“I don’t believe anything about the Mercedes. It is still too early [to make a judgement].”
Mercedes, despite its obvious gearbox troubles and the lack of a headline lap time, still looked strong on the long runs and its top speed was evident too.
“What I can assure you is that we have more power than last year. We can measure it and see it. That is good news,” added Sainz. “What happens is that I am quite sure that the others have also gained power, both Honda and Mercedes for example, and we have seen that the McLaren has an incredible top speed.
“Once we settle these variables a little more, we will be able to understand a little more where we are in terms of top speed [but] I don’t think we’re going to be the fastest in the straight, I’m not going to lie to you.”