Ferrari warn of sandbagging as they prioritise reliability

The Ferrari power unit proved unreliable for a large part of 2022.

Before he officially resigned from his role of team principal of Ferrari, Mattia Binotto revealed that the team had to tone down the power of their engine, just to make it more reliable.

Ferrari were phenomenally quick over the course of last season, but this pace unfortunately means nothing if the car does not make it to the finish line.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix really highlighted the severity of Ferrari’s power unit problems, as both Ferraris, a Hass and an Alfa Romeo were all forced to retire from the race because of failures from their Ferrari power units.

Charles Leclerc’s lead in the championship quickly disappeared after the Monegasque was forced to retire from the lead in Spain and Baku while Carlos Sainz was unable to build up and consistency as he also retired in Baku as well as in Austria.

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With only weeks to go until F1 travels to Bahrain for pre-season testing, new Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur is confident of the team putting their reliability woes in the past.

“This, we will have to wait for Bahrain. Even the test in Bahrain might not be super relevant for performance,” he told Sky Italy when asked about his expectations for Ferrari’s 2023 car.

“Reliability is key – it’s key for the test because you have to do a lot of mileage in three days. We have only one test this year.

“It means that you have to arrive in Bahrain with reliability, or it could be much more difficult. Then we’ll see during the season about reliability, but it looks to be so far under control.

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“Then performance, I think that everybody will do some sandbagging in the first test to distort the level of performance, but let’s see.”

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Vasseur is currently watching his drivers in action for the first time in a private test in Maranello, near the team’s factory.

Leclerc and Sainz will be driving last year’s car however, making the test more of a wake up for the drivers rather than anything to do with development.

Both drivers will be confident of challenging for the title this season, with Sainz claiming towards the end of last season that he believes he is capable of consistently matching his teammate, after taking longer than he expected to adapt to Ferrari.