Carlos Sainz says F1 Austrian GP proved that it hasn’t been easy for Ferrari off-late, as Frederic Vasseur not concluding things still.

After the heroics in Monaco, Ferrari has stumbled in the next three rounds so far. They have just managed one podium between the two drivers which included a double DNF in Canada. Even the podium in Austria came after tangle between the two leaders.

On performance level, they have struggled against Red Bull and McLaren straight up, but also against Mercedes to a certain level. Sainz has highlighted the bouncing issues after the latest round of updates in the high-speed section of the circuits.

Charles Leclerc has echoed the same but added about the slow to medium speed corners as well. The Spaniard believes Monaco was an outlier for them and in Austria, there was nothing more they could have done while finishing behind Mercedes and McLaren.

“I think there was not much more in it this weekend,” said Sainz. “I think we did a good job yesterday in qualifying and in the sprint. And today, we set our targets in trying to beat the Mercedes. We managed to beat one, even if one of them got ahead. And then I was behind the two of them, passed Lewis, and then it was all about trying to keep up with George.

“But like we saw in the sprint, it just looked like they had this half a tenth to a tenth of pace advantage. That it’s these three, four, five seconds that he was in front the whole race. And yeah, I thought that was a battle for a podium, which he was going to win. And in the end, it became a battle for a win eventually.

“We tried everything we could, but we know we’ve been struggling the last few races. And yeah, at the moment, Mercedes are a little bit quicker than us. I think, if anything, it just proves that the last two weekends haven’t been easy. We’ve been always the first Ferrari finishing behind the first Mercedes.

“Even if you count Canada, you could argue those three weekends in a row. So I think Red Bull and McLaren were in a league of their own this weekend. Then there was a step. There was George and me battling for that P3, P4. And yeah, that was not the situation at the beginning of the year. So it shows that we need to work hard.

“We need to understand what’s happened the last couple of races. And once we understand it, hopefully already for Silverstone, we can bring a step and improve our performance. I see the factory pushing flat out to understand the troubles that we’ve hit in the last couple of weekends and trying to bring already for Silverstone a package that allows us to perform a bit better in the high-speed corners because it’s clearly been our weakness.

“Max was so much quicker through there, but not only Max, also Mercedes and McLaren were a clear step ahead of us in those type of corners. And we know Silverstone is the king of the high speed, so we need to do a step. Obviously, we want to be competitive there. And we are going to fight everything we can and try to find everything we can, sorry, to make ourselves more competitive there,” summed up Sainz.

When pressed on about the bouncing issue in Austria, Sainz felt it was less of a problem considering how the circuit is. The Spaniard, though, noted that there is not just the problem of bouncing but other areas as well which needs to be looked at.

“In the race, it’s less of a problem because you carry less speed into those high-speed corners,” said Sainz. “The car rolls less and you have less bouncing as a consequence. But yeah, obviously, if you have it in quali, you have to set up the car differently for qualifying and then probably you pay the price in the race. So yeah, it’s not an ideal situation.

“It doesn’t make you good in quali and it doesn’t make you good in the race. We have been talking a lot about bouncing the last couple of weekends, which shows that it’s been a bit of an issue, but I believe there’s also other things that we need to improve in order to at least beat Mercedes in Silverstone and try to get back closer to McLaren and Red Bull.”

While the drivers are hurrying Ferrari a bit, team boss Vasseur seems calm in public at the very least. He knows about what everyone is saying and understands what both drivers are saying as well, in terms of different types of issues outside the high-speed one.

“First, the world issue is a big one,” said Vasseur to media. “We were speaking before the discussion about the situation but on Saturday in Austria when we arrived at Turn 3, we were one tenth in advance on Norris. It means that if we close the lap, and I know perfectly that we have to close the lap, I think the perception of this is completely different.

“But for sure as usual, and even when you do the pole position, and even when you win the race, you have issue on the car. If you don’t have issue, you are at the beginning of the end. And with their driving style and so, they can have different. But we change massively the car between Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon because if I say Friday evening and Saturday morning, I will go to the stewards. That’s it.

“And I think it was better. We changed a little bit the weakness of the car from corner to corner, but I think overall we are there. I think it will be helpful for us to have a FP1, FP2 in Silverstone, also if the weather is good, to do a sanity check on everything. But strangely I’m not negative on the performance.

“Strangely because we were in the race, we are far away from Max. But I had the feeling that we were able to get more. Regarding updates, it’s not because you are not seeing parts that they [McLaren] don’t develop and it’s not because we won’t bring aero parts that we won’t develop. What you see first is the external skin of the car and what we declare to the FIA, it means only the aero parts, but it’s not because they didn’t bring aero parts that they didn’t develop,” summed up Vasseur.

With the bouncing issue seemingly returning at Ferrari and it being linked with the updates, Vasseur is not concluding anything. He stresses that any kind of update cannot be ascertained in a couple of weekends, as it takes some races to understand every bit of it.

He reiterates about what he said in Monaco, where he noted that the 2024 F1 season will see ebb and flow between teams which is what is happening at the moment. “[The bouncing] was much better on Saturday afternoon already in Austria,” started Vasseur. “So it’s not the first time that when you bring an upgrade on the car that you need one or two weekends. If you have a look on the last two years, it was quite often like this.

“When you bring something, sometimes as the upgrades now are a bit less powerful than it was in the past with some type of performance. Sometimes you have also a deficit on the tuning of the car and you need one or two weekends to be at the top of the upgrade. The question [about going in the right direction] is a bit harsh.

“Honestly, yes, if we finish the lap in quali, I think I will have the comments that you are back, you are fighting with Red Bull, you are less than one tenth of the pole position, blah blah blah. It starts in any case, and I think you can take my quote of Monaco, I think I was saying exactly the same.

“It’s not after a good result or a bad result that we have to change the mindset or the team or whatever. That we had good weekends, that some weekends we were faster than everybody, some weekends we were at the level of Max, some weekends we are at step down and I think in Austria we started at step down.

“But the reaction was good and I think on Saturday morning we were in a much better shape. No, no, we don’t want to change that. I think Silverstone will be helpful for us. We have ideas into the pipe, we have upgrades to bring later on that we won’t change the approach and we will continue to push,” summed up Vasseur.

Here’s Charles Leclerc on Austrian GP hit

Here’s how F1 Austrian GP panned out

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