Looking back over the first half of the season, there was one obvious low point for Ferrari in an otherwise encouraging 11 races: The French Grand Prix. But Carlos Sainz says the teams reaction to leaving Paul Ricard pointless is one of the most impressive things he’s witnessed in F1.
The French Grand Prix was not Ferrari’s finest hour with the team struggling through poor tyre performance to have Charles Leclerc come home 16th and Sainz 11th. The former McLaren driver, 99.3 seconds off the leader at Paul Ricard, said that he was impressed by how the team returned to Maranello and worked tirelessly to solve the tyre issue.
“Well, there’s been a lot of emphasis and focus put on this issue. The fallback in Paul Ricard was so dramatic in a way because we were all so surprised and said: ‘OK, we need to change this, and we need to tackle this as aggressive and as soon as we can’,” said the Spaniard.
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“The minute that happened, we all flew back to Maranello, we put together a few meetings, a few analysis and it was two, nearly three days intense work in the simulator, in simulations, in understanding our car to see what was the issue in our car to cause this huge problem you know and – the way that the team reacted to that, was quite impressive in a way that – to see such a big team, such a big boat going to tackle in one direction all pushing in the same way to this problem, and seeing how many theories, how many projects came up to try and solve it was one of the most impressive feelings I’ve got as a racing driver, just to see such a big organisation tackling one certain issue,” he added.
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Sainz previously said that the issue was an ongoing weakness with the SF21 with Leclerc having added that their pace began to drop after just two laps on hard tyres – with medium tyres degrading “very, very quickly” – both crimson cars tumbling out of the top 10.
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Now, the Maranello team are on a run of four consecutive points-scoring races with Sainz having secured a podium in Hungary – Leclerc having unfortunately retired in the Lap 1 chaos at the Hungaroring after success at Silverstone. Sainz continued to explain that Ferrari’s engineers deserve to rake in the praise for their work on solving Ferrari’s tyre trouble.
“I enjoyed it a lot, and it was a good process,” he continued. “As drivers obviously we cannot do much more than give precise feedback, precise detail of what we feel in the car, how we feel the tyres are being affected by our driving, about the balance we have and let the engineers take care of the rest. It was good fun and I enjoyed it a lot,” he said.