Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Ferrari “need a very big step on the engine” – Sainz

2020 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says the Belgian Grand Prix weekend showed Ferrari need to make a lot of progress with their power unit.

At one of the most demanding circuits for power unit performance, where drivers are flat-out for around 78% of a lap, Ferrari were the only team who lapped slower than they did in 2019.

Sainz, who will joined the team from McLaren next year, said: “Clearly Ferrari is the first one that is not happy right now. I think you could see clearly how much they struggled.”

The team “also had some problems with the overall grip of the car” in qualifying, Sainz added, “but in general, I would say that, yes, they need a very big step on the engine coming.”

However the former Renault driver said he is confident the facilities Ferrari have will allow them to close the gap to their rivals.

“I know how tough it is because it took Renault a few years,” he said. “It’s taken Honda quite a long time also. But the fact that they are nearly there or at least Renault is nearly there, close to Mercedes, also shows that you can do it.

“For me, if there’s a team with facilities, if there’s a team with resources, if there’s a team with a lot of engine benches to try and improve, that’s Ferrari. So I’m sure the now is working flat-out and hopefully by the time I get there they’ve improved a bit and together we can do the next step.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Ferrari “need a very big step on the engine” – Sainz”

  1. Yeah, I can see Sainz had enough time to worry about where he is going next year. And the biggest worry is indeed that engine.

    Especially since there is not much time to get it up to speed again before subsequent engine freezes come in for the next few seasons, so they are at risk of ending up with such an engine for not just this year or next year, but a large part of the next decade.
    I do think that if that would be the case though, the FIA would find a way to allow Ferrari to make up the difference (and probably with consent of the other engine manufacturers too) just like they enabled Renault to do something extra when they claimed to be far behind.

  2. Ferrari needs a shake up but Elkann is blaming the infrastructure and not the staff. they decided not to shake things up, learn from your mistakes approach, otherwise I think sainz is pretty lucky, not just the engine but signing was a mistake, I could see a new direction cutting sainz out as well.

  3. Crazy to think that Ferrari had a power unit in a league of its own last year, and in 2020 its at Honda 2015 levels in terms of performance.

    While Sainz might be questioning his move, the driver who really must be regretting the current situation is Leclerc, who is in a long term contract with a team that will take at least 3 seasons to become front runners again.

    Just goes to show how bad a team Ferrari really is… they can’t win despite cheating for a few seasons in a row.. and once they’ve been caught cheating, they’re at the bottom of the midfield.

    1. I’m sure such a strong driver as leclerc is must have a get out clause if ferrari underperforms that badly!

      1. @esploratore

        Hard to tell. I would think based on their 2019 performance Leclerc would be happy with a long contract where he’s the lead driver. I doubt he saw this coming before contract negotiations.

  4. It’s clearly more than the engine though. They were no faster than the cash strapped Ferrari customer teams.

    The engine might be poor, but a Ferrari should be able to lap those cars. Just like Mercedes is normally lapping Williams (and even Racing Point).

    1. Interesting point!

    2. Indeed, this is really baffling, they seem to have designed a worse chassis than sauber and haas, which would be quite something.

  5. Wonder if Ferrari will fire Sainz for these comments 🙃

  6. It took Honda 4 years from their initially embarrassing showing to finally have a respectable power unit, and even now they still trail Mercedes

    It was always surprising how much Ferrari had improved their power unit in 2015, and even more so how by 2018 it was clear they’d surpassed Mercedes. It’s sad that rather than engineering a genuine competitor they instead seem to have focused on how to exceed the regulations limits without detection, they must now be years behind the competition. I’m pretty sure we can write Ferrari off for a good few years now

    1. It would be really interesting to know what the actually did, but u wo der if we’ll ever find out!

      Good point, they kinda have been set back years.. if I’m right then they have one year to get on par with mercedes engines before the freeze comes in. Otherwise they’ll be stuck lacking

      Of course the engines will be important in 2022 no matter what but I wonder if they will be a bit less so than compared to now due to the expected lower downforce levels

      1. Lower downforce levels tend to exaggerate power unit performance, hence Ferraris poor showing at the low downforce Spa

    2. Would’ve been better for formula 1 to just let them use those engines, and I’m italian but I’m not really a ferrari fan, I just think about 2018 (and 2003 really) and would like to have 3 competitive teams like back then, no matter what it takes.

      1. @esploratore

        The problem with that is all three of the other teams produce more power than Ferrari within the rule set, if the FIA say fine you can carry on doing what you were doing to Ferrari, then the others team are also welcome to do so which doesn’t necessarily help Ferrari out

  7. Almost feel sorry for Sainz. I wanted his bragging and hype-train to come to a stop, but this is practically a career-ending move (seems to be a theme with Ferrari-goers, have you noticed). Can’t see Ferrari coming back any time soon. McLaren will likely be ahead of them for a good while.

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