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Sainz: Fighting Red Bull has to be our realistic aim in 2024

Sainz: Fighting Red Bull has to be our realistic aim in 2024

Sainz: Fighting Red Bull has to be our realistic aim in 2024

Carlos Sainz believes Ferrari should be realistically aiming to take the fight to Red Bull in the 2024 Formula 1 season, whether they can do that is another story though.

While Ferrari started with promise in 2022, only to fail to deliver as that season progressed, their 2023 F1 campaign was clearly doomed since the SF-23 turned a wheel for the first time in pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The 2023 Red challenger retained the weaknesses of its predecessor in terms of high tyre degradation in races while having decent pace in qualifying.

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As a result Red Bull and Max Verstappen cruised towards another Title double while Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, and Aston Martin took turns fighting for best of the rest status, a position Mercedes succeeded in securing eventually.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Carlos Sainz was asked about his team’s chances of taking the fight to Red Bull in 2024, he responded: “It has to be our realistic aim. Will we manage to do it? Only time will tell.

“I want the team to be thinking that it is possible because I believe it is,” he added. “Also, we’ve proven that if McLaren has been able to do these steps during the season, I’m perfectly confident that Ferrari can do it over a winter break.

“I trust this team. I trust the capacity that we have back at home to turn things around,” the winner of the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix maintained.

Sainz admitted there were some aspects within the SF-23 that were good to carry on into 2024, and pointed out: “I would take definitely the straight-line speed and the braking performance and the performance in 90-degree, short duration corners.

“Also, the kerb riding I think is a very strong point. So, the car has very, very strong points,” he added.

Ferrari should compromise to have a better car in 2024

2 - GP GIAPPONE F1/2023 - VENERDI 22/09/2023 - credit: @Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

But he then suggested that some of these strong points in the outgoing Red single seater should be compromised to have a much better all rounder of a car in 2024.

He said: “I feel like if we want to have a car for the whole year, maybe we need to give away some of these traits to make sure we’re quick everywhere, especially in the race.

“In the races is where we need to really focus, on understanding what are we doing to this car,” Sainz highlighted. “What are we doing to these tyres that is not allowing us to compete in the races at the level of Red Bull and McLaren in Brazil, for example, in Austin, in circuits where you can clearly see we just don’t have the race pace?”

As for his new ride for 2024, Sainz is not willing to make any predictions, but revealed the new car seems to be different from early simulator impressions.

“I think we’re going to need to wait until testing,” he said. “I think it’s incredibly difficult to know. The car in the simulator is behaving differently, for sure.

“But I think until we put the car in 100 kilos [race fuel] and used tyres, it’s going to be impossible to see how the car is actually treating the tyres, treating the pace and how our race pace is going to be affected.

“That we will only know in Bahrain [testing] when we put it on track. In the meantime, we can just focus on adding performance to that car in the wind tunnel and trying to make it better,” Sainz concluded.

Sainz was the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in 2023. He finished the season seventh in the Drivers’ Championship.