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Ferrari refuse to write off Sainz season

Ferrari refuse to write off Sainz season

F1 News

Ferrari refuse to write off Sainz season

Ferrari refuse to write off Sainz season

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies has refused to write off Carlos Sainz's season by employing him as a wingman to Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc leads Max Verstappen in the race for the drivers' championship by 19 points after the opening five rounds, with Sainz a further 32 points after, primarily a result of his DNFs in the Australian and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix.

With Ferrari in its best position in the F1 title race since Fernando Alonso challenged Sebastian Vettel a decade ago, suggestions have been made to a potential second-hand role for Sainz given the importance of assisting Leclerc's charge.

But asked ahead of the Spaniard's home race on Sunday if Ferrari was near to being forced into a decision over team orders, Mekies insisted: "No, I think it is very early days for that.

"If we have a look at last year, the points difference at the beginning of the season you could have said the same thing but things change.

"We are pushing a lot to make sure Carlos can adapt and get more comfortable. He showed extremely strong performance last year, we are convinced he is going to develop even stronger performance in the very short term.

"It is only race six of 22 and we are very far from having the good problem [of making team orders] so it is a topic for much later."

Ferrari in "exploration phase" after adding upgrades

Ferrari is one of a number of teams to add updates to its car at the Spanish GP but tyre degradation issues experienced at the previous two races continued in Friday practice, with Leclerc complaining of his medium tyres "falling to pieces" after an eight-lap stint.

With Leclerc lining up on pole at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya and Sainz third, split by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Mekies said: "It is no secret we were not happy with our long runs [on Friday].

"A part of that was exploring the new package a little bit and the set-up branch of the new package.

"But we mastered it in the early races, Bahrain and certainly in Australia and the last couple of races have been more difficult.

"It is also the sort of thing we are hoping to help with the upgrades in the way that when you add more performance to the car, you are able to give the tyres a bit of an easier life.

"All these things are all working together. We are still in the exploration phase but we are aware we have probably dropped a little bit in that area."

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