Carlos Sainz admitted that he had to “completely change” his driving style to get to grips with Ferrari’s 2022 challenger.
A new generation of Formula 1 cars made its debut in the 2022 season. The new cars had several significant differences compared to older generations.
Sainz did not feel comfortable behind the wheel at the start of the season, and he was outperformed by his teammate Charles Leclerc.
The Spaniard revealed that it was a difficult period for him following a strong first season with the Maranello-based outfit.
“It was clearly, first of all, frustrating after such a first strong year with the team where I found very few issues with the car,” Sainz told Motorsport.com.
“I felt like, after the first few races in 2021, I knew where the limit of the car was. I only had to find one or two tenths in a certain type of corner and I was ready to compete. That’s why the second half of the season was so strong, and I could get on top of it.
“This year was finally a competitive car, finally a car able to battle for wins, and suddenly I find myself in a position that I’ve never found myself before, which is being a bit more than two tenths off.
“I’ve never been more than two tenths off a teammate, and I’m scratching my head to see where is all this lap time coming from. It was frustrating because it was the first time I had a competitive car that could allow me to fight for wins.”
Sainz stated that he had to change his driving style in order to perform well in the new car.
“I kept it quite secret where my struggles came from. I think people who understand the sport, and people who do in-depth analysis, more or less know me by now, and know where the issues came from. But just to make it short: I had to change completely my driving style.
“I had to change completely the way I was driving, in a very unnatural way. I had to change to an unnatural way and make it natural which takes a long time.
“I also had to try things with set-up. Most of them were in the wrong direction, and then coming back to find a good direction, and this takes races. There’s no testing anymore, so you need to test in race weekends.
“That means sometimes you have to commit to a race weekend with a set-up where you basically got it wrong for that weekend. And it meant another weekend not performing.
“That accumulated frustration until I think it was more or less Canada that I found a bit my way. And since then, I’ve started performing a little better.”