Carlos Sainz believes that Ferrari’s poor Dutch Grand Prix “confirmed” its 2023 Formula 1 car struggles more on high-downforce circuits.
Prior to the summer break, Ferrari had expected to be strong in Hungary, but the Scuderia were left perplexed by a surprise slump to only seventh and eighth in the race.
After rounding out the first half of the year with a podium for Charles Leclerc in Belgium, the Italian marque’s inconsistent campaign continued in Zandvoort as Sainz trailed home fifth in the sole remaining Ferrari, with the Spaniard labelling its SF-23 the “sixth fastest car” across the weekend.
When asked on Saturday if Ferrari understood its lack of competitiveness, Sainz said: “I think we had a tough weekend in Hungary, when we put the high-downforce wings on, and we didn’t expect to be struggling in Hungary. And we confirmed it here. We put the high-downforce wings, in a track that we would expect to be decent, and we are actually struggling more than ever.
“So… we have a tendency, and we have a pattern, which is good. We did some tests on Friday and we’re starting to understand why.
“And yes, we just simply know that our high-downforce rear wings are not performing as they should, and when we come to these tracks we don’t put as much downforce in the car as the others, and we’re sliding a lot more.
“So, the car is trickier, it’s windy, long corners also which is not ideal for our car. We know where we need to improve.”
Amid a tough campaign that has been stymied by a capricious package, Ferrari Technical Director Enrico Cardile confirmed on Friday the side would be creating a “brand new” car for 2024 to remove the “clear” limitations imposed by the current concept.
Sainz has reiterated that the Maranello-based camp must continue to maximise what is possible across every remaining weekend in 2023 as attention at its factory turns towards next season’s project.
Questioned if the car concept change for next year shows there’s a willingness at Ferrari to accept its present route is flawed, Sainz responded: “Yes, that’s important.
“And obviously you guys cannot imagine all the work that is going on in Maranello and all the work that we are putting in the simulator with ourselves and the simulator drivers, to make the car better next year.
“But, in the meantime we’re still going through an Formula 1 season and we’re still having our ups and downs, which makes the mood obviously and the perception change a lot. But we know what we’re doing for next year, and we’re hopefully going in the right direction.
“But, in the meantime we’re still going to have our Zandvoorts, we’re still going to have our Hungarys, but we are also going to have our Spas.
“I think we need to keep being optimistic, and when we are in Zandvoort, settle for the maximum that we can do, which today was a top six. And then when we go to the circuits like Spa, try and get those podiums and top fives.”