Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr has pointed the finger at Red Bull, claiming that “Red Bull has killed the competition” and is far too “superior to all the others” in the Formula 1 field. With almost 100 points behind the Red Bull team after the third round of the 2023 season, Scuderia Ferrari is experiencing its worst start to a season in a long time.
While in 2022 at the same point in the F1 season as today, Ferrari was fighting with Red Bull for the world title, the situation is clearly different this year for the Italian team with a catastrophic start to the season with no less than two retirements in three races for Charles Leclerc and a fourth place for Carlos Sainz in Bahrain as his best result so far.
Apart from this completely unsuccessful start to the season for Ferrari for various reasons (penalties, retirements due to mechanical breakdowns and collisions), the most worrying aspect is the pace, or rather the lack of pace, of the SF23, which is lagging behind the Red Bull in terms of pure performance, a gap that Carlos Sainz believes will not be made up in the coming weeks.
Competition is dead…
“Red Bull killed the competition with a car that was clearly superior to all the others,” said Carlos Sainz, quoted by RTBF, during the Australian Grand Prix where he was placed twelfth after receiving a penalty for which Ferrari has applied to the FIA for a review.
“It’s a surprise for us that we are not as good as last year, especially in race pace.”
Russell claims Red Bull hiding their pace
Mercedes George Russell is also critical of just how fast Red Bull are compared to everyone else when he declared last week that the Milton Keynes based squad were actually hiding their true pace from the F1 authorities in order to better negate the possibility of mid season rule changes to rein them in.
According to Mercedes George Russell, Red Bull are ‘sandbagging’ their performances now, deliberately slowing down and not getting too far ahead of the field.
The British driver was on the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast saying: “Certainly they’re holding back.”
He added: “I think realistically they’re probably seven tenths ahead of the rest of the field.” confirming what this website claimed some months ago during winter testing.
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Sainz admits Ferrari weakness
“We know where our weaknesses are, but our shortcomings will not be addressed in one race, nor in one month, because the gap with Red Bull is huge. It’s probably one of the biggest in recent seasons,” says Sainz when describing where the team is failing.
Certainly one area of poor performance for all to see is tyre management.
Italy’s Motorsport.com is reporting Ferrari are set to bring an upgraded SF-23 to their first home race in Emilai-Romagne. However the disappointing expectation is the modifications whilst visible will be enough to hold off Aston Martin but not see Ferrari challenge Red Bull.
If the post race analysis of Carlos Sainz in Jeddah is to be believed then Ferrari will be focusing on developing their current philosophy to improve tyre degradation.
Sainz pinpointed this single issue as the biggest area of performance deficit Ferrari need to address. “The last stint on the hards proves we’re not where we want to be,” said the Spaniard.
“We still deg more than the Mercs, we still deg more than the Astons, we still lack a bit of race pace.”
Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix scheduled for the last weekend of April in Baku, Scuderia Ferrari is fourth in the constructors’ championship with 26 points scored so far this season, 97 points behind Red Bull.
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Oh, what a night. Early April, back in 2014.
What a very special time for Mercedes.
As we remember, what a night… 😜 pic.twitter.com/gjgBoSPCmj
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 6, 2023
Well they should have done there homework.
There was a long period that Mercedes was strongest. Red Bull worked hard to get a good car.
Not that long ago, LH finished with almost a minute lead.
I’d say stop whining and do your homework.
All I hear is ” it’s not fair, they’re better than us, waawaaawaaaa” shut up get on with your job and race instead of complaining
Not all of the competition in F1 takes place between the drivers on track. Is there not also a competition to design the best car? How about crew competitions during pit stops. Unfortunately complaints, by an F1 team that shall remain nameless, convinced the FIA to put an end to the engineering side of that competition. How about competition in the team management arena? It seems that some teams get along better with each other and therefore operate more effectively by working as a team. Let’s not forget about race strategy. I don’t know what the problems are at Ferrari or Mercedes, I’m on the outside looking in, but the lobbying for the changing of the rules to “level the playing field” or “retain the entertainment factor of F1” is doing far more harm to the reputation, spirit of competition, and the entertainment factor of F1 than the fact that one particular team is dominant for the time being. Dijcks and Trevor are right in admonishing those who are complaining to do put their noses to the grindstone, do their homework, and quit complaining.