Ahead of qualifying for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, Round 8 of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Carlos Sainz shared his thoughts on his struggles with the Ferrari SF-23 so far this season.
During the Spanish Grand Prix, Sainz battled to keep within a competitive distance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen. he worked hard for P5 at his home race in the end, more than 45 seconds off the winner, speaking volumes for the state of affairs down Maranello way.
Granted, they have had a relatively fast car during qualifying sessions this season, but it’s the GP itself that exposes the SF-23’s weakness which apparently stems from massive degradation issues that the car has with the Pirelli tyres and brakes.
In Canada, Sainz finished Friday’s FP2 third fastest, only one-tenth of a second off the pace of impressive Mercedes duo, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. But the pace Ferrari has, appears only sustainable over one or two laps, as shown in FP2 and most probably in Qualifying later.
However, the race pace and consistency to deliver laps that can challenge those ahead have been lacking for Charles Leclerc and Sainz this season. Last year there was a fight up until around now from Ferrari, but this year they are nowhere near being the challengers to Red Bull’s superiority.
Sainz: It’s going to be a challenging Saturday
Speaking candidly to reporters at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Sainz revealed: “I’m still not feeling 100% at home with the car, especially under braking I was struggling quite a bit [Friday], which we start to understand why now and we will try to make changes for [Saturday].
Of the brake problem afflicting the Ferrari SF-23, Sainz said after the final session: “It’s the most important factor and I felt like we didn’t get it right with a couple of settings. We will try and get them better for tomorrow and I’m sure we will be more competitive. We just need to make sure we nail all the sessions from now on.”
As for the Pirelli issue, he reckoned: It will be tricky with the tyres always here between extreme, inter, and dry – the track dries pretty quickly. I think it’s going to be a challenging day and it will be all about making no mistakes and getting through it.”
Although Sainz has fared slightly better than teammate Charles Leclerc this season, only just, as the SF-23 problems appear to plague both drivers, and with the Canadian Grand Prix upon us, the Maranello team are needing to resolve these issues fast to avoid another below-par outing.
The 2023 F1 World Championship standings graphic, after seven rounds of the 22-race season, tells the tale of the stark state of the Scuderia’s campaign thus far: