Sainz admits Red Bull "superior everywhere" and ‘killing’ the opposition

Carlos Sainz says Red Bull have “killed” their opposition in F1 2023 and are “superior everywhere” compared to Ferrari. 

After experiencing a winter of upheaval at Maranallo that saw Mattia Binotto replaced as team principal by Fred Vasseur, Ferrari have endured a challenging start to 2023. 

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Ferrari have struggled for pace and faced reliability concerns at the opening two rounds, with Sainz only managing fourth and sixth, while teammate Charles Leclerc retired in Bahrain and recovered from an engine-related grid penalty to take seventh in Saudi Arabia. 

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso claimed the final spot on the podium behind the dominant Red Bull cars in both races and Ferrari were also beaten by the two Mercedes drivers in Jeddah. 

Speaking on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Sainz admitted Ferrari are experiencing one of their toughest moments since he joined the team in 2021. 

"For sure it's one of the toughest moments, I'm not going to lie," Sainz said. 

"Since 2021, we've been on the way up, since I arrived 2021 was already a good step in the right direction - we went from finishing P6 to finishing P3, [then] there was the regulation change that allowed us to do a massive step in 2022.

"And then, this year, we expected at least to find ourselves in a similar position but unfortunately there's a team named Red Bull that have killed the opposition coming up with a car that is clearly superior to everyone else.

"If you look at Ferrari, we are there with Mercedes, we are not too far from Aston Martin in race pace, but there's one team that have nailed it and this puts us a bit on the backfoot again. But, at least we know, I think we know, where we got it wrong.

"It's very clear to us where the weaknesses of our car lie, where the strengths of the Red Bull are. And now the whole team is pushing in the same direction, trying to cut that deficit."

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The Spaniard conceded Red Bull's RB19 has blown Ferrari’s 2023 challenger away in every single department. 

“At the moment the Red Bull is superior everywhere - in qualy, in race, straight-line speed, superior in medium and low speed corners, they are superior with tyre management over the kerbs,” he explained. 

“It shows we clearly need to change something, we need to go onto something very different from where we are now.

“I think extremely good performance at the start of last season made us keep pushing with this concept.

“But I think we realise now that Red Bull have a clear advantage everywhere and that we need to start looking to our right and to our left.”

Speaking about the weaknesses of Ferrari’s 2023 car, Sainz added: "Our analysis from the first few races is there's no fundamental issue with the car, it's just a very peaky car, very unpredictable car in the race, eats the tyres quite a lot, so we need to improve our package, just too peaky and we need to find a way to calm it down a bit and this is what makes the car difficult in the race.

"The good thing is everyone knows it - they know it at race track, the know it at Maranello, Ferrari has the manpower and capacity to react, if we all push in the same direction I'm convinced this team can turn it around. Not in a short period of time but in a medium period of time."

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