However, the Spaniard asserts that Red Bull, the winner of the first three rounds, possesses the best car in every area and will be hard to beat for race victories.
“We’ve always been good in Monaco, this last few seasons,” he emphasised.
“But at the moment the Red Bull is superior everywhere – in quali, in race, straight-line speed, superior in medium, low-speed corners, they are superior with tyre management over the kerbs and bumps, just shows that we clearly need to change something, go and change something very different from where we are now.”
Sainz has suggested that Ferrari’s emergence at the start of last year as the team to beat made it confident that retaining its original concept for this year was the way to go.
However, Red Bull’s storming start to 2023 has potentially awoken the Italian outfit to the possibility that it may have to head towards the philosophy seen on the dominant RB19 for 2024.
“Extremely good performance at the start of last season made us keep pushing with this concept and project of car but we realise now Red Bull have a clear advantage everywhere and we need to start looking to our right and left,” he pondered.
Neither Ferrari was classified inside the top 10 last time out, with Charles Leclerc spinning out into the gravel on the opening lap while Sainz was hit with a five-second time penalty for tagging Fernando Alonso round during a late standing restart.
Ferrari’s pointless weekend in Australia has left it in a distant fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, 30 points behind third-placed Mercedes.
Having targeted winning the World Championship this year, the Scuderia is already 97 points adrift of Red Bull, who appear set to cruise to both titles for the second consecutive year.
Even with nothing to show, Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur admits he was pleased with some aspects of Ferrari’s performance in Australia.
While ending up sixth and seventh on the grid marked its worst qualifying result of the year, Ferrari’s race pace was much improved from the previous two rounds, enabling Sainz to challenge Alonso’s Aston Martin and Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes for the podium until the race was stopped.
Like all the teams, Ferrari will have the rare opportunity of a four-week interval early in the season to manufacture upgrades for the string of races to come towards the summer break.