Carlos Sainz has completed Ferrari’s ‘wake up test’, an annual test that the Italians carry out to get the team, drivers, mechanics and engineers warmed up for the new season.
As always, the test was conducted at Ferrari’s privately-owned circuit, Fiorano, where Sainz completed several laps in the team’s 2021 challenger.
The SF21 wasn’t only driven by Sainz in the test, with Ferrari Hypercar driver and ex-F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi having completed 35 laps, before handing over to the team’s official development and reserve driver, Robert Shwartzman, who completed an additional 77 laps.
Whilst Charles Leclerc wasn’t at the test, his brother, Arthur Leclerc, was present.
Arthur was one of three Ferrari Driver Academy members at the test, with Arthur, Maya Weug and Aurelia Nobels having watched from the comfort of the garage.
2023 is set to be a big season for Sainz, who somewhat languished behind his team-mate last year.
After going into 2022 on the back of having finished above Leclerc in the 2021 Drivers’ Championship, the Spanish driver failed to up his game, something Leclerc instantly did.
His highlight of last season was, of course, winning his first Grand Prix, with the 28-year-old having capitalised on the team’s strategic error with Leclerc at the British Grand Prix.
Sainz has got the pace to be a consistent challenger at the front, with his issue being doing it often enough.
The Ferrari driver recognises that he needs to “improve” in 2023, with the “perfect year” being needed to get anywhere close to Max Verstappen.
“Clearly [last] year, it wasn’t [possible], because I’m very far from [Max Verstappen] in the championship,” the Spaniard said, as per Formula1.com.
“And the way that he has performed in combination with Red Bull, they’ve been just the faster package: the quicker car; the quicker driver,” admitted Sainz.
“I do feel like with a perfect year, it should be possible, but we will need to be perfect next year and we will need to improve the car. I will need to improve, especially in the first half of the season and in the races.
“So, that is the target and you need to put high targets to yourself, and onto the team like this. You can try and accomplish them. And then let’s see what life brings [this] year.”