Carlos Sainz says the budget cap has prevented Ferrari from eliminating the wind sensitivity weakness it has encountered with its 2023 Formula 1 car.
Ferrari entered the year expecting to reassert itself as a credible title threat, but the Scuderia has failed to take a single victory this year and only scored three podiums.
While Red Bull has comprehensively dominated every single race so far, the Italian outfit has found itself amongst a close-knit group of teams constantly swapping positions behind the runaway leaders.
Ferrari, in particular, has been prone to constant fluctuations in performance over the first half of the year, leading Sainz to declare the team must ensure it maximises whatever is possible with its package each weekend beyond the summer break.
“It’s been obviously relatively a frustrating start when we kind of realised that Red Bull was such a big step ahead of us and it was going to be difficult to challenge them,” he said.
“I think we all expected the car to be more competitive, ourselves to be more competitive and the field has got really, really tight and now you’re going through these massive up and downs where some weekends you might be fighting for P3 and others you’re just finishing P8, which in performance swing just might mean you are 0.1s in front missing or 0.1s behind that tight field, which is not a lot.
“But the end result looks very, very different in Ferrari when you come back with a P3 or P8. And now we just need to kind of accept that, that’s the fight that we are in.
“If one weekend we need to go and fight for P5 and that’s the maximum we can do, we need to celebrate the fact that we’ve done the maximum with what we have this year.
“Focus more on maximising the car’s potential, the team’s performance in this second half of the season. We want to make sure we maximise our constructor points and stop kind of expecting a win or a podium here and just focusing in nailing the principles and be consistent.”
Both Ferrari drivers have consistently complained about battling a troublesome car that has been frequently inconsistent in its behaviour from lap to lap.
Sainz concedes the wind sensitivity of its SF-23 charger is an issue that can’t be resolved this year due to the budget cap ruling restricting the teams’ spending limits.
However, the Spaniard is optimistic that the Italian marque’s 2024 car will improve the core problems that have limited the competitiveness of its current package.
“Well, the direction and the idea is very clear and everyone’s heading in Ferrari and now we are pushing flat out back in the factory to change that,” he addressed.
“It’s just that during a year, it is quite tricky, especially in [the] budget era. It’s quite tricky to suddenly change everything, but the direction has been given and we are now back in the factory, in the simulator, developing that car and trying to make amends, [to not] do what we did this year.
“I’m confident that is going to be better. But I’m pretty sure everyone is also going to make a pretty big step next year again. So we just need to focus on ourselves.”