After a massive struggle during today’s French GP, P11 finisher Carlos Sainz revealed that Ferrari was “caught by surprise” by a disproportionate front-tire degradation. The Spaniard revealed his tires aged “two times as much as the others”.
Saturday’s qualifying session was promising for Ferrari. Although both Leclerc and Sainz pointed out that a ‘return to reality’ was anticipated after scoring two consecutive pole positions, the two drivers still qualified P5 and P7, ahead of McLaren.
Nonetheless, even after a satisfying result in qualifying, the race turned out to be a disaster for the Italian team that failed to score a single point, Sainz crossing the finish line in eleventh position and Leclerc in sixteenth.
Front tire issues were already mentioned yesterday by Leclerc, who found himself unable to exploit them as well as his teammate in qualifying. The Monegasque revealed that this issue had already been experienced by the Scuderia throughout the season but was still a major defect in the SF21’s behavior to this day.
Today’s race was no exception as Sainz pointed out the degradation issues he encountered. The 26-year-old went as far as to say that Ferrari’s degradation was probably twice as bad as what rivals encountered, making it the main reason behind today’s disappointing result.
“Cars that yesterday we were half a second quicker, like the McLarens, or three tenths quicker. I don’t remember today, towards the end of the race, they were two seconds faster per lap,” Sainz said.
“It’s quite clear, quite evident that today we must have got something really wrong to be so far off the pace.”
“So it’s clear that we have a limitation with tires, with the way we operate the tires. It is something that we will need to analyze, something we need to try and get better through the season.”
“It’s a limitation that has appeared in some of the races where we really struggled with the front tires with graining, with degradation, two times as much as our competitors.”
The Spaniard also emphasized that excessive tire degradation is not just restricting the car’s performances but also forcing the team to adopt a perfectly adjusted strategy, which is an extremely difficult challenge.
“The problem is when you have so much degradation like we had today, you have no margin with strategy.”
“You have no margin with defending, it’s not like we are the quickest on the straights either.”
“This is just something that we need to understand. Because I think at the moment, this one definitely caught us by surprise.”