Carlos Sainz has ridiculed suggestions Ferrari’s 2022 development route was tailored to his driving style and has insisted it’s the role of the driver to adapt to a car’s inherit characteristics.
The Spanish driver began his second campaign in red on the back foot, getting involved in a string of incidents and lacking outright speed compared to his team-mate, Charles Leclerc.
While Sainz would eventually get his season back on track – scoring his maiden pole and victory at Silverstone – Ferrari’s relative performance began to regress as the year progressed.
However, Sainz has categorically denied there was any correlation between the team’s competitiveness dropping off and his performance level gradually improving across 2022.
“I feel like there was a trend that people were saying the car was going my way or not. But that’s not true,” the ex-Red Bull affiliated driver admitted, as per Motorsport-Total.com.
“I’m going to say frankly now that a Formula 1 car doesn’t go my way or towards the other driver.
“A Formula 1 car evolves to be faster. My job as a driver is to provide clues as to where the car is weak.
“I give that feedback, as does Charles. The team takes it and provides it faces data, draws their conclusions and hopes that the car will then be faster.”
Having encountered trouble with adapting to the new era of machinery from last year’s regulation change, Sainz is hopeful that Ferrari’s 2023 package will suit him earlier this time around.
“I’m always optimistic and I hope it will go faster this time,” Sainz said.
“Over the past year I’ve gone through some obviously difficult moments. We had a car that required a certain, very specific driving style. In those moments I adjusted and made it – a little late for my liking, but I adjusted.
“The car should have evolved, and I felt like I was very close to the car’s limit last year and was driving at a very high level. So I’m confident I can pick up where I left off and take a step in the right direction.
“I also hope that the car can adapt a little better to my driving style and that I can get off to a strong start to the season.”
Ferrari revealed its 2023 car, the SF-23, as an evolution of its predecessor, with the Italian outfit aiming to go one better and end its protracted title drought this year.
The team underwent a shakedown at its Fiorano test track immediately after the launch event before conducting a filming day at the same venue the following day.
Both Leclerc and Sainz offered positive opening impressions and the Ferrari pairing will be back behind the wheel of its challenger for 2023 during pre-season testing in Bahrain.
“It’s very clear in our heads where we want to make the steps and what we’re focusing on. I think pre-season has been smooth for us so far,” he added.
“Now it’s a matter of executing a plan, a very specific plan that we have for Bahrain, and [to] implement it as well as possible.
“I’ve worked hard over the winter to be well prepared and I’m confident I can do it and become an even better driver.
“So I know that once I find my groove this year and feel comfortable in the car, I’ll be able to perform very well. So I’m very excited about what’s to come this year and what I can reach as a driver.”