Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko believes that Carlos Sainz’s accidents at the start of the 2022 season may have taken a fair chunk out of Ferrari’s budget.
Sainz’s race in Australia ended early when he span into the gravel having suffered misfortune in both qualifying and off the start, and a new gearbox was fitted for Imola, where he put the car in the wall during qualifying before Daniel Ricciardo took him out at Turn One.
The Spaniard’s woes were not done there sadly as he collided with the concrete barrier at Turn 14 in Miami, causing more damage to the F1-75.
By contrast, Max Verstappen has won each of the last two races after upgrades were fitted to his Red Bull, and Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto predicts that these alterations may have eaten into their rivals’ $140 million budget.
“I would estimate that they have spent significantly more money than we have so far,” he said.
“But that’s not going to go on forever. We don’t have enough money to bring something new to every Grand Prix,” he added.
“And it’s not about our capacity, it’s around the budget limit. We bring updates when we think the time is right.”
Dr Marko concedes that sticking to a much more refined budget has not been easy, but he believes that Sainz’s accidents have likely been costly to Ferrari, so reckons there is not so much disparity between them as Binotto suggests.
“It’s true that the increased logistics costs are a problem. But that’s true not only for us, but also for Ferrari and all the other teams,” he explained.
“I don’t think that we are in a significantly different position than Ferrari in this respect. Especially since I wonder how they are affected by Carlos Sainz who has crashed the car several times. That can’t be cheap.”
Indeed, Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies told both Charles Leclerc and Sainz to “sound out the limits” in order to avoid going over the spending limit, so the 27-year-old will need to ensure he stays out of the barrier in the coming races.
After his practice crash in Miami, Sainz recovered well to take second in qualifying behind Leclerc, but he was passed off the start by Verstappen, who later picked off the Monegasque.
He held off the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez after the Mexican was set back by a reliability scare, but former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers was surprised at how easily the Ferrari driver lost P2.
“Carlos should have gone much more to the outside at that start and given Max much less space, because if Max had to go even wider he would have had very little grip,” he said.
“The fact that Carlos let himself be passed like a lame duck was very strange. Carlos could have done better.”
Sainz sits 51 points adrift of leader Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship in fifth after a tumultuous start to the year for the Spaniard.