Carlos Sainz Jnr has dismissed suggestions Ferrari is in “crisis” after the opening round of the season but admits the team were unhappy with the result in Bahrain.
He finished fourth in the opening race of the season after being overtaken by Fernando Alonso in the closing laps, missing out on the final podium place as a result.
Sainz’s team mate Charles Leclerc was on course for third until he retired from the race with a power unit failure. The consequent repairs mean he will take a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding power unit components for the season.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Sainz admitted it had been a difficult start to the season for his Ferrari team.
“It was a tough first weekend for the team, but, in general, I think we got out of it with the maximum that we could have done,” Sainz said. “Obviously, the penalty of Charles coming into here is not ideal, but it’s only the first race.
“If 2022 told us [something], it’s that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. So we are going to try and build up from there, especially now, keep the developments in and try and improve the car as much as possible from where we started.”
After Ferrari’s 2022 season was marred by reliability problems and retirements for both their drivers, Sainz admits they are “relatively concerned” to have been struck with a power unit failure in the first race.
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“It’s not the way you want to start a season with a penalty [from] race one,” he admitted. “Breaking the battery, the ECU in the first weekend – clearly we are not happy with that and we identify it as a weakness. But this is the first time we’ve seen this failure in a very, very long time, so it caught us by surprise.
“We are putting things in place to fix it. I’m pretty sure that we are capable of fixing that in the short term. So, yeah, it’s a bad situation, but now we can only look forward and improve it and make sure that we are also more competitive this weekend.”
Despite the failure and the disappointment of finishing nearly 50 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen, Sainz said claims the team is in “crisis” were wide of the mark.
“It is a lot better than what the news makes it sound like,” Sainz insisted. “When you look back at this last week and how many rumours there have been around, it’s seems like the place is not in a great moment.
“But I can tell you it is so…
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