Dakar Rally News: Sainz Expects Improved Ferrari Performance in Austria After Spain Struggle

    Dakar Rally veteran and Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz is confident that his team will be more competitive at the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix after seeing a key weakness in the Ferrari SF-24 car exposed at the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc could only manage a third-row start at their home race in Barcelona, finishing behind the Mercedes cars as well as the McLaren of Lando Norris and the dominant Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Despite efforts to split their tire strategies, the Ferrari duo were unable to make significant progress during the race, ending where they started.

    “It was not our best weekend, but this was the track where we struggled the most last year too,” Sainz admitted. “The high-speed nature of the track and the long, combined corners are where we seem to always struggle, like in China, here, or at Suzuka.”

    However, the Spanish driver is optimistic that the team’s fortunes will improve at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, a circuit he believes will be better suited to the SF-24’s characteristics.

    “I remember Austria not being an issue for track characteristics, so I think we will be more competitive because of the corner types,” he explained.

    Team boss Fred Vasseur acknowledged that the pecking order in Formula 1 has been volatile in recent races, with different teams taking pole position in the last four weekends. He cautioned against drawing firm conclusions too early, stating that the picture could change significantly at the next event.

    “Nothing is forever in F1 today and it means it is not crystal clear that one team is better than the other,” Vasseur said. “Before drawing conclusions, we have to stay calm, we have to go event by event and [in Austria] it will be a completely different format, different Tarmac, different type of corners also and probably the picture will be completely different next week.”

    The team has identified the need to improve its performance in qualifying, particularly in managing the tires throughout a single lap. Vasseur acknowledged that the team was around two-tenths of a second off the pace in Barcelona, and will need to dig deeper into optimizing the SF-24 for the unique demands of each circuit.

    As the Dakar Rally season continues to unfold, the Ferrari team will be eager to bounce back and demonstrate their true potential at the Red Bull Ring, a circuit they hope will play to the strengths of their car.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source