Scuderia Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is confident his team is making progress, amid significant gains from rivals McLaren and Mercedes.

Asked if he found Ferrari’s apparent lack of progress compared to the team’s rivals frustrating, Sainz noted that certain characteristics of the Ferrari have hindered their progress, whilst other teams have made big strides in development recently.

“I think we’ve unlocked pathways,” said the Spaniard.

“It’s just very unfortunate that the car was born with some characteristics that make us very sensitive to track conditions, to track characteristics, to temperatures, winds, etc.

“Honestly, I feel like we’ve made quite a bit of progress.

“It’s just that there’s a team or a couple of teams out there like McLaren, and Mercedes that are also doing very big progress and it makes it look like you might haven’t done as much as you would wish.”

McLaren have achieved back-to-back podiums for the first time since 2012 going into this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, following a raft of upgrades, whilst Ferrari have missed out on the podium in the last two grand prix.

Sainz acknowledged that the progress of Ferrari’s competitors is largely track dependent, and the ebb and flow of the calendar will see favour swing back in Ferrari’s direction.

“If you look at Canada and Austria, it looked like we were the ones developing the most,” he said.

“Now we’ve had two slow weekends and it looks like we are not developing enough.

“Now we have another two strong weekends in a more favourable track, it will look like we are developing better.”

Laurent Mekies (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director. 17.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Practice Day.

Developments off track for Ferrari on Thursday saw the departure of Racing Director Laurent Mekies, but Sainz isn’t concerned that the mid-season change will have a negative impact on the team.

“Obviously [Mekies] was a very important figure in Ferrari the last few years and he’s been a huge contributor to the team,” he said.

“But the transition has been done already.

“He’s been very helpful also in helping Diego to learn.

“He’s relearned the job that he was doing and I’m not concerned at all with the transition period because it’s already been smoothened out.”

Mekies’ departure follows that of former head of vehicle concept David Sanchez at the start of the year, but Sainz dismissed any notion that the leadership team at Maranello is leaning on the lighter side.

“No, I’m 100% sure that the structure we have now is also working well for the development of next year,” he said.

“And if anything, I’d rather have a lighter year now and know that we are not really fighting for a world championship and make sure we are restructuring, we are recruiting and we are strong for when the tougher challenges come hopefully in the near future.”

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