Written by Llinos Jones, Edited by Meghana Sree
Carlos Sainz has said that “Ferrari must accept missing F1 podiums if it cannot achieve more.” By now, we’re all well aware of the Italian team’s turbulent first half of the season with both highs and lows. However, does that mean they should accept or even be content with a finish outside the top three in races?
Although the first half of the season has been a disappointment, the team have achieved three podiums and two pole positions, courtesy of Charles Leclerc. Meanwhile, Sainz clearly isn’t extracting everything from the car. But to his credit, he’s consistently finishing in the top ten during races, Australia and Spa being the only races in which he finished outside of the points.
Throughout the season so far, we’ve seen Ferrari battle with other teams such as Mercedes, McLaren (who have recently made a comeback to the front of the grid), and Aston Martin. It is the closeness of these battles that have had Sainz believing that the team should be happy with the results they are currently getting.
He stated: “It's been obviously relatively a frustrating start when we kind of realised that Red Bull was such a big step ahead of us, and it was going to be difficult to challenge them.
“I think we all expected the car to be more competitive, ourselves to be more competitive and the field has got really, really tight.
“Now you're going through these massive up and downs where some weekends you might be fighting for P3 and others you're just finishing P8, which in performance swing just might mean you are 0.1s in front missing or 0.1s behind that tight field, which is not a lot.”
The SF-23 has had its fair share of weaknesses but we have seen that it is capable of some good results when in the right performance window. Part of the success comes from the driver’s mentality and in a team such as Ferrari, who are desperately trying to get back to the top, motivation and encouragement are crucial in extracting the most out of the car. It is evident that Ferrari needs a more competitive car if they want to challenge Red Bull for the win, but at the same time, podiums are still certainly possible on the tracks more suited to the strengths of the SF-23. With smooth teamwork, good strategy, and efficiency on their side, they can surely attempt to turn their season around after the summer break.