Carlos Sainz Jr. believes Max Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing can be beaten during the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season if Scuderia Ferrari can have a ‘perfect year’.
Ferrari started the 2022 season strongly, with Charles Leclerc taking victory in two of the opening three races. Unfortunately, they would only win twice more, Leclerc taking his third win of the year in Austria and Sainz taking his maiden Grand Prix victory in Great Britain.
Sainz feels that whilst Red Bull appeared to dominate the season – they took seventeen victories across the year, fifteen of which went the way of Verstappen – Ferrari were not that far away, and with some improvements across the board, they can take the momentum away from their rivals in 2023.
The Spaniard says they will need to find some additional power and downforce as well as remove the errors they made in strategy in order to get on top of Red Bull and fight for the titles.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t keep up with them (Red Bull),” said Sainz to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo. “They had a better package and the driver at the moment was better.
“I think with a perfect year, it is possible to beat Max, and also by improving in the first part of the season and in the races. That’s the target. There are possibilities. Red Bull have dominated, but they haven’t been clearly ahead in qualifying or race pace.
“I don’t feel we’re that far away in terms of development and performance, because for example in Austin I was on pole, we were 1-2, we’re not that far away, we need a little bit more power, a little bit more downforce, and another step more in strategy and race execution.
“In terms of pure performance, we are not far away.”