Carlos Sainz is under no illusion about the size of the task facing Ferrari, as they seek to launch a sustainable championship challenge in 2023.
For Sainz, 2022 was largely disappointing as he found himself in the shadow of his team-mate Charles LeClerc, finishing 62 points behind him in the Drivers Championship. Ferrari struggled in most races, with Max Verstappen storming to World Championship glory once again with Red Bull.
Speed has been a major problem for the Prancing Horse over the past few years, and Ferrari will use their pre-season preparation wisely to get the most out of their car.
In many respects, 2022 was challenging for Sainz, but the Spaniard admits that Ferrari will have to be faultless from race one if they are going to overhaul Red Bull.
He said: “Clearly [last] year, it wasn’t [possible], because I’m very far from [Max Verstappen] in the championship. And the way that he has performed in combination with Red Bull, they’ve been just a faster package: the quicker car; the quicker driver.
“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.”
This season will mark 15 years since Ferrari’s last World Championship success when they picked up the 2008 Constructors’ crown. All roads will lead to Bahrain and the opening race of the 2023 season. As you might expect, Verstappen remains the short-priced favourite with most bookmakers at around EVENS to retain the Drivers’ Championship. You can also find other outright odds on ZetBet, a reputable operator whose casino counterpart is listed as one of the best brand new slot sites with great customer offers.
Sainz, meanwhile, has been keeping a close eye on the development of the Ferrari car, and the team’s new car is expected to be formally unveiled on February 14.
Ferrari is expected to copy its approach ahead of last season when it held a private test before the launch of the new car, and it will give the drivers a chance to shake off any track rust. Intriguingly, the team will stage a test featuring a two-year-old car.
For this, Ferrari’s race drivers will be joined by reserve drivers Robert Shwartzman and Antonio Giovinazzi, who will spend half a day in the car. Naturally, with Sainz entering his third full season as a Ferrari driver, the pressure ramps up, and he will be expected to deliver results. And with Ferrari, being second best is simply not good enough. If they can nail their pre-season preparations and conjure up more speed before Bahrain, then it could well give Verstappen