It was abundantly clear over the course of 2023 that the SF-23 was great over one-lap but struggled for race pace in large part due to severe tyre degradation. This success and failure were partly enabled by Red Bull’s focus on race pace, but despite that, there were still good things about the car that Carlos Sainz would like to see carried over to 2024.
Carlos Sainz believes that Ferrari’s biggest focus should be tyre management and getting the Pirellis into the ideal operating window. However, Sainz also pointed to the SF-23’s straightline speed and low-speed corners as traits that should be carried over into next year.
“I would take definitely the straighline speed and the braking performance and the performance in 90-degree, short duration corners,” Sainz said.
“Also, the kerb riding I think is a very strong point. So, the car has very, very strong points.”
The Spaniard did concede that some of these strengths may have to be sacrificed in order for the team to take the necessary steps forward to challenge Red Bull.
“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,” Sainz continued.
“In the races is where we need to really focus on understanding what are we doing to this car.
“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?”
When asked if they could take the fight to Red Bull in 2024, Sainz said: “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. 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.
“There are still circuits where we are on pole by 0.3s to the Red Bull. It’s just that it’s a very specific trait of the car that is really good. We just need to make it an all-rounder.”