The Bahrain Grand Prix was full of ups and downs for Ferrari, who were hoping to start the 2023 season with a win.
Qualifying was relatively successful for the Scuderia because whilst they were unable to take pole position away from Red Bull, they were able to lock out the second row.
The Bahrain international Circuit has not been resurfaced since it was created back in 2004 and because of this, the asphalt is very harsh on the tyres, especially in the braking zones.
Ferrari struggled with tyre degradation last season and it appears that this issue has carried over to the SF-23 this year, with the Scuderia’s race pace looking drastically worse than Red Bull’s.
Not only this but Carlos Sainz was passed by the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso with ease in Bahrain, as his tyres began to struggle compared to Ferrari’s rivals.
Heading into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this week, Sainz is hoping that the circuit in Jeddah will suit Ferrari better, leading to a better result in the race than his P4 in Bahrain.
“I believe we can be more competitive in the race because the tarmac allows you to push more, there’s less degradation,” he told the media.
“We only have one sample, that is Bahrain, with these cars. So we’ve been here for seven days now running with these cars and it’s clear what our problem is in Bahrain.
“Let’s see what is a problem in Jeddah with different tarmac, but you are also a bit more front limited.
“Maybe it helps us, maybe we are the same, we don’t know but I want to be positive.”
The bare minimum for Ferrari is to have both of their drivers finish the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with an engine failure forcing Charles Leclerc to retire from the first race of the season.
With Bahrain clearly suiting Red Bull much more than it did Ferrari, the gap to the energy giants may not be as large as initially feared this season.