Carlos Sainz can expect a lot of attention at his press conference at the Ferrari hospital. The Spaniard is still waiting for his first F1 win and would love to win it in front of his home crowd. The scenario is more realistic than in previous years, although it still needs at least two things for the breakthrough in Barcelona. First, Sainz needs to understand the F1-75 (a car he has more trouble with than Charles Leclerc) and second, the Ferrari code word needs to work: upgrades.
The Scuderia comes with a comprehensive package that also includes the reduction draw is part of. Ferrari hopes that this will increase top speed, although that’s how it has to be. According to Sainz, Ferrari doesn’t want to make concessions on recruitment in response to Red Bull. The formation of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez has done this several times: deliberately divulging some of the theoretical lap time in order to get a weapon for it on Sunday.
When asked to what extent this top speed sends Ferrari towards other setups with less downforce Sainz said: “To be honest it doesn’t affect us very much. We have our simulations and our tools and based on that we decide which rear wing and which setups are the fastest at each track,” said Sainz Motorsport.com to know. “We’re not focusing on top speed, we’re focusing on what’s fastest and most efficient over the entire lap. If Red Bull turns out to be quicker on the straights then we shouldn’t focus too much on that. We don’t want to slow ourselves down. Being slightly faster on straights for a full lap. That’s how we work and it’s working well at the moment,” Sainz concludes.
“Despite all the Red Bull upgrades, it’s still very close”
Lower tire wear is usually a consideration for riding with more downforce. It should give Ferrari an edge in the battle with Red Bull, although Sainz knows practice has been different in recent weeks. “It’s interesting, isn’t it. In Melbourne, Leclerc only had half the tire wear of Verstappen, but a race weekend later Red Bull suddenly had a lot less wear.” In Maranello, however, this is not immediately a cause for concern. Sainz also knows that it’s all about who finds a good balance in the car, because Verstappen failed in Australia.
“I think it changes throughout the year. They’ve had the advantage in the last two races, but that doesn’t mean they have the advantage every race. It’s the track and the setup, and maybe our upgrades will help. It was very difficult to spot patterns, we’re too close for that.” The Spanish Ferrari driver says it’s good news for Ferrari that it’s so close. “In Miami we had the entire front row and were able to fight for the win. That was after five development weekends at Red Bull and zero with us… Let’s see this weekend with our upgrades. At least I have faith in the team and in things that happen at the factory, not forgetting that we’re up against arguably the strongest team in F1, they delivered the Drivers’ Champion last year so we know they’re fast and we’ll definitely do our best what we can do in terms of development and then we have to see if it’s enough.”