Carlos Sainz Jr. says ‘only time will tell’ if Scuderia Ferrari can close the gap at the front of the field to Oracle Red Bull Racing in 2024, but he has confidence they can based on what the McLaren F1 Team were able to do during the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.
Ferrari ended third in the Constructors’ Championship in 2023, with Sainz taking the one and only race win that Red Bull did not achieve in Singapore, while the team scored four hundred and six points, less than half of their championship winning rivals.
McLaren had a season of two distinct halves, with the opening part of the year seeing them struggle to score points. However, updates brought to the car ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend turned around their fortunes and they were often Red Bull’s closest rivals in the second half of the season.
And it is that turnaround in form from his former team that gives Sainz the confidence that Ferrari can eat into the distinct performance gap between them and Red Bull.
“I think it has to be our realistic aim, yes,” Sainz is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “Will we manage to do it? Only time will time.
“I want the team to be thinking that it is possible because I believe it is. Also, we’ve proven that if McLaren has been able to do these steps during the season, I’m perfectly confident that Ferrari can do it over a winter break.”
Sainz says he has full belief in Ferrari that they can turnaround their fortunes and be competitive for race wins next season as he bids to improve on his seventh-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship.
And the Spaniard says Ferrari may need to sacrifice some of the strengths of the 2023 car if they are to become competitive on all types of circuits next year.
“I trust this team,” insisted Sainz. “I trust the capacity that we have back at home to turn things around.
“There are still circuits where we are on pole by 0.3 seconds to the Red Bull. It’s just that it’s a very specific trait of the car that really is good. We just need to make it an all-rounder.
“The  car has very, very strong points. But I feel like if we want to have a car for the whole year, maybe we need to give away some of these traits to make sure that we’re quick everywhere, especially in the race.
“I think it’s in the races where we need to really focus on understanding what are we doing to this car.”