Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz says that Ferrari’s ability to earn podiums in 2021 remains to be seen, after a dismal 2020 saw them be pummeled.

Ferrari made three podium appearances in 2020, none in typical circumstances as a dreadful power unit made challenging at the front an impossibility. The F1 team finished in sixth in the WCC, their worst result in four decades.

Sainz calls the ability of he and his team to earn a podium in the season-opening Bahrain GP this year ‘the million-dollar question’, which can only be answered when the first race weekend is underway in late March at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Though they will not have a clear picture until the flag flies in Bahrain, Sainz says, the Spaniard concede that there is ‘encouraging’ data from the team’s wind tunnel data of the SF21. “We will not know until we go to Bahrain – not the Bahrain test, more the Bahrain race,” he said to selected media like F1, BBC, Motorsport Network, Racefans and more.

“In testing nowadays, especially with the amount of fuel loads you can put in and engine modes, it’s very difficult to come to any kind of conclusion. Obviously I have been following very closely the progress of the team in the last few months and I have been trying to give my support and help.

“There are some encouraging signs and encouraging data coming out, but at the same time we don’t know what the others are doing. It’s the same question every winter, do you know where the others are? You might be progressing but you don’t know whether the others are progressing more or less.

“But I’m confident,” he shared, before explaining that the majority of his work in the off-season has been related to learning the team. “We need to stay patient, see how it goes and also my main work this winter hasn’t been that much focusing in development but also trying to adapt myself to the team and getting to know all the people in the team and get ready myself for race one and testing, which is also quite a difficult task,” Sainz said.

“Right now, it’s an important moment where we are trying to recover together and bring Ferrari back to the top, so it requires a lot of team building. As soon as the results start showing, there’s going to be a great momentum generated inside the team, and we’re all going to feel even more excited about the future,” summed up Sainz.

So far Sainz has  extensively driven the 2018 Ferrari but when asked about the difference from McLaren, the Spaniard did not wish to compare. “The people who know me, I never compare cars,” he said. “I have never come out with the idea of comparing different cars that I have driven in the past.

“I can tell you that the 2018 Ferrari impressed me immediately. I enjoyed it a lot and the balance, the power and the drivability was impressive. As soon as I jumped in the car, I knew why it took so many pole positions and wins that season.”

Here’s Mattia Binotto on 2022 work, wind tunnel

Here’s Ferrari launching its 2021 F1 team

Here’s news on recent Ferrari changes in chassis department

Here’s Ferrari testing the 18-inch tyres

Here’s Ferrari announcing Hypercar entry