While Sainz admits that he misses having a car that can fight for the top places, the Spaniard has conceded that he has endured a better feeling with the problematic SF-23.
“In a way, I miss 2022 because at least we knew I had a car under my belt that was able to win races and pole positions,” he said ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
“This year, the feeling of the car is a bit better – especially in the races. I’m not struggling with anything in particular on the driving side, it’s that I haven’t put together any good laps yet, any good qualifying laps. I haven’t done a good job in quali.
“The races, I’ve done pretty much what the car can do right now, which is not a lot, but yeah I’m just waiting to see if the upgrades improve the feeling, improve how we are able to race with the car because at the moment we are very limited.
“We cannot race people too much because the car is difficult in dirty air, we eat the tyres so it doesn’t allow you to push in the race to overtake people, and this means you’re a bit stuck in the race and cannot play around too much, we know exactly our weaknesses and hopefully this improves us and allows more flexibility.”
Ferrari endured a nightmare second round at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with its two cars trailing home sixth and seventh.
The Maranello-based outfit’s SF-23 package was particularly unsettled on the Hard tyre and lagged considerably behind Red Bull, Aston Martin and Mercedes.
That disappointing night in Jeddah arrived after the first race in Bahrain saw Leclerc retire with an engine failure from a comfortable third place and drastic tyre degradation issues for Sainz.
Although an incident on the opening lap for Leclerc and a five-second time penalty for Sainz meant Ferrari ended the Australia weekend empty-handed, Sunday in Albert Park did provide some positives for the beleaguered Italian squad.
After slipping back to 11th following an ill-timed red flag call, Sainz battled his way through to fourth and was matching Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin.
While the cooler track conditions might have aided its improved race day showing, Ferrari had openly turned its attention to ensuring it has a stronger car on longer stints.
With a four-week break to come before the 2023 cars hit the track again, Ferrari has a prolonged period to manufacture additional parts in time for the next round in Azerbaijan.