Carlos Sainz hopes that Ferrari can have a trouble-free and “consistent” end to the 2022 season.
The Scuderia had not won a race since 2019 coming into the new season but, with changes taking place to the technical regulations, there was optimism coming into 2022.
Indeed, Charles Leclerc led home Sainz for a one-two in the season opener in Bahrain, before the Monegasque won again in Melbourne.
Sainz had crashed out of the Australian Grand Prix following issues in qualifying, setting problems at the start of the race and then a mistake while trying to climb back through the field, but the Italian side still had the lead in both championships as they left round three.
Red Bull, howeber, answered back with a one-two in Imola after Sainz suffered two more crashes that weekend, before Leclerc threw away a podium with a spin of his own in the race.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were back in business, and those two, between them, have won 11 of the 13 races since.
The reigning champion has held dominance over everyone, claiming 10 of those wins after taking the chequered flag in Jeddah in round two.
He has established a 116-point lead over Leclerc in the championship as a result and, with Red Bull 139 ahead of Ferrari, it looks likely that they will wrap up both titles this year.
Verstappen could seal the Drivers’ Championship next weekend in Singapore, although it would take some misfortune for both Leclerc and Perez.
Sainz is set to be ejected from the title race in Singapore, so he is just hoping to string together some solid, stress-free performances in the coming weeks.
“I would like to have a steady end to the season, especially with the amount of things that have happened to us this year,” he told Mundo Deportivo.
“I would like to have a quiet last part of the season, with less things happening to us and to be able to get into a rhythm for next year, which will be a new opportunity.”
Ferrari have rediscovered their competitive form this year, so the 28-year-old hopes that they can use that momentum to mount a better title challenge in 2023.
“We have a solid base from this year with a very good car and the team is making progress,” explained Sainz.
“We have to try to improve a couple of things like reliability and consistency but we have to keep in mind that this year we have fought against a team like Red Bull that is doing things perfectly.
“We have to learn and be the one to do it like that next year.”
A combination of reliability failures, strategic mistakes on the pit wall and one or two driver errors have been the Maranello-based team’s undoing in 2022, but next year is a chance to put that right.
“This year we would have fought for the title if we had done things a little better and had had a bit of luck at the start of the season,” affirmed Sainz.
“Why not think that next year there is a new opportunity and it can be achieved? Ferrari, after the big step it has taken from last year to this one, has to set that goal.”
Sainz also had plenty of praise for Red Bull and the soon-to-be double world champion Verstappen, who partnered the Spaniard at Toro Rosso during their rookie season in 2015.
“Verstappen is having a great year, but also Red Bull is not failing in anything, neither in strategy nor in making important decisions,” he stated.
“They take penalties in races where they know they will have the strongest car. They are having a very complete season and that makes them very difficult to beat.
“[They are] not unbeatable and unattainable, every race we are going to have a chance and we are going to try.”
Sainz won the British Grand Prix this year after claiming his maiden pole position in Silverstone.