Carlos Sainz says people back in Italy trying to destabilise Ferrari, as Charles Leclerc shuns down recent rumours.

Post the low-key start to Ferrari’s F1 2023 campaign in Bahrain which was marred by a reliability retirement for Charles Leclerc and a subsequent penalty for Saudi Arabia, things hasn’t been very good for the Italian manufacturer in the last couple of weeks.

New team boss Frederic Vasseur already has had to put down several rumours, while addressing the reliability issues that the team has faced. With Mattia Binotto out of the picture, some of his key members are looking to leave as well.

One of them David Sanchez is already confirmed to leave, while few others are likely to follow suit. Vasseur already denied speculations of Laurent Mekies moving out earlier this week, with rumours roped in Sainz and Leclerc in the picture too.

The Spaniard was surprised by the amount of stories written about them, so much so that he reckons that people are trying to destabilise Ferrari. Sainz insists the mood is a lot better than what it is made of in the news reports coming out of Italy.

“It is a lot better than what the news make it sound like, because when you look back at this last week and how many rumours there’s been around it seems like the place is not in a great moment, but I can tell you, it is so clear to us what we need to improve, how we need to do it, and what are the short, medium and long term targets that I actually am very surprised how some people back at home have been trying to destabilise a bit the team,” started Sainz.

“Because some call it crisis; we’ve only done one race. It’s impossible to judge the performance in this race. We are the first ones that are not happy with how this first race went and we are the most bothered about it. And we are the most affected by it. And we are going to try as much as possible to try and improve it. So yeah, I’m pretty calm about it and I see people at home committed, focused and with a very clear target in mind, and I include myself in it,” summed up Sainz.

While he isn’t calling it a crisis after one race, he agreed that the reliability issue that Leclerc faced is a concern after not having one at all in testing. The fact that he already has a penalty means that both drivers are likely to face more of it in future.

“For sure we are relatively concerned,” stated Sainz. “It’s not the way you want to start a season with a penalty in race two, and break in the battery, the ECU in the first weekend and clearly we are not happy with that and we identified as a weakness but this is the first time we’ve seen this failure in a very, very long time so it caught us by surprise.

“We’re putting things in place to fix it and I’m pretty sure that we are capable of fixing that in the short term. So yeah, it’s a bad, bad situation but now we can only look forward and improve it and make sure that we are also more competitive this weekend,” summed up Sainz, as teammate Leclerc wanted to break off from the destabilisation as well.

He notes about the team being in a good space and looking inside rather than whats going on outside. He was surprised how positive everyone was at Maranello, even though they were equally disappointed how things turned out to be in Bahrain.

“It’s the way it is,” said Leclerc to media. “It’s the beginning of the season. Of course it’s not the ideal start that I wish I had at the beginning, starting in Bahrain, but what can I do about it? Now we need to focus on what is ahead, what we can do to be a better team, to do better. This weekend we are starting from the back foot, but our target is to try and do something special.

“I like this challenge of starting a little bit more on the back foot and trying to do something special and come back to the front as quickly as possible. It’s only the first race of the season and we’ve still got many, many races to go and we still need to be fighting like crazy to be back at the top and keep pushing. I still believe in it and of course we still need to all believe in it because it’s only the first race.

“So, it hasn’t gone as planned, and when it’s Ferrari and a situation doesn’t go as well as it should, then there are lots of voices and all of this around the team. But we need to be good at spending our energy right inside the team, pushing in the same direction to make a difference and come back stronger,” summed up Leclerc.

While adding on about Maranello visit, the Monegasque also put down rumours of him wanting to see John Elkann to get clarity. “Honestly, I obviously saw these rumours and then I went to Maranello,” continued Leclerc. So at first I was not sure how the team is going to react to it. But then we’ve had a meeting with a whole team, with all the Ferrari employees.

“And I was really surprised. Everybody’s fully on it and fully positive, which is great. Regarding Elkann, this is absolutely untrue. I mean, again, there have been loads of rumours around the team, and for once 90% of them were completely unfounded. I don’t know from where it is coming. And to be honest, I don’t even want to spend any energy on trying to find from where it’s coming from, we just need to be on it, and focus on ourselves,” summed up Leclerc.

All details about Saudi Arabian GP:

Here’s Charles Leclerc and co on Imola qualifying trial

Here’s Charles Leclerc getting a penalty for Jeddah

Here’s David Sanchez confirming his gardening leave

Here’s Carlos Sainz on bad degradation in Bahrain

Here’s Frederic Vasseur on Ferrari not needing concept change