JUNE 16, 2023

Sainz worried Alpine could overtake Ferrari

Ferrari is at risk of falling behind yet another rival Formula 1 team in 2023.

Carlos Sainz, Spanish GP 2023
© Ferrari

Ferrari is at risk of falling behind yet another rival Formula 1 team in 2023.

The fabled Maranello marque entered the season with a new team boss in Frederic Vasseur and high hopes of a title challenge.

But even with a major car upgrade in Barcelona two weeks ago, Charles Leclerc qualified a woeful second-to-last.

And not just that, a post-event investigation back at Maranello did not find anything wrong with his car.

"No, no we didn't," said the Monegasque driver when asked if a problem was discovered.

"For now, we don't have the reason," Leclerc added in Montreal. "So this is a little bit more worrying, and that's where we need to push and try to understand the reason for it.

"Because obviously, the feeling was really bad."

However, Leclerc insisted that amid rumours he is losing patience with Ferrari, he continues to "believe in the project".

But the Italian team is behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin in the constructors' standings - and according to Carlos Sainz, also at risk of falling behind Alpine.

"I think Alpine is about to join us," the Spaniard said ahead of the Canadian GP. "I think they are very close to joining the battle.

"I still think we have a bit of an advantage, but I think that between Aston and Mercedes things are very close," Sainz told DAZN.

"Normally Aston has an advantage. And let's see if it's going to be the Mercedes we saw from Barcelona."

Alpine's Esteban Ocon confirms Sainz's suspicion that the Renault-owned team is now catching Ferrari.

"We are not ahead of them, but we are closer than we were," said the Frenchman. "That's good news.

"The grid is very tight and we are lacking pace, there is work to do, but I am happy with the overall progress this season," Ocon added.

Indeed, when asked about Ferrari's vaunted Barcelona upgrade, Sainz admitted the disappointing end-result was actually "a bit of a shock for us".

"It was maybe the worst place for us to make improvements but when you have new parts you should test them. Hopefully they work better here."

However, Sainz isn't even expecting the chance of rain this weekend to boost Ferrari's chances of a better result.

"Because of the way this year's car is, I don't know if the rain would make things easier for us," said the 28-year-old. "I don't know.

"So far, the feeling in the rain has not been the best with this car."