Carlos Sainz’s Daring Mindset: Why Ferrari’s Strategy Pits Him Against the Team’s Strategists.

Disappointed by Ferrari’s decision to bring him into the pits during the Monaco Grand Prix in order to defend against Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz acknowledges that he may possess a more daring mentality compared to the strategists in his pit crew.

In the thrilling race at Monte Carlo last Sunday, Sainz vented his frustration over the team radio when he received the instruction to enter the pits and counter Hamilton’s strategy, even though the Mercedes driver was trailing behind him. From Sainz’s perspective, his sole focus was on battling against Esteban Ocon, who occupied the third spot on the track and held the coveted podium position.

“What the f***! This is exactly what I talked about!” Sainz ranted as he once again found himself lining up behind Ocon after he pitted.

Told by race engineer Riccardo Adami that the “target was to cover Hamilton”, the Spaniard shouted: “I don’t care about Hamilton, I was quick!”

Speaking after the grand prix, Sainz called the timing of the pit stop “debatable” and felt Ferrari could’ve been a “bit more patient”.

During the drivers’ press conference leading up to the Spanish Grand Prix, Sainz was questioned about his approach, with suggestions that he possessed a “more assertive and forward-thinking” mindset compared to his affiliation with Ferrari.

He replied: “I think it’s a fair assessment.

“I think I was honestly quite vocal about wanting to go and get that podium and maybe risking on staying on the hard but I also fully understand the team perspective that we are fighting the team championship with Mercedes.

“There’s Lewis behind that just a very quick out lap on the Hards and we have to protect from him and we have to go at a position which at that space in time when I left the pits behind Esteban, I was quite frustrated.”

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Nevertheless, he comprehends the rationale behind Ferrari’s decision.

“Once they explain it to you and they explain the rationale and the reasons they did it, I perfectly understand it,” he added. “It’s just that I probably wasn’t at the time in the same mindset.

“I was just focusing a lot more on extending the Hard trying maybe to catch the rain, trying to catch a Safety Car, trying to catch anything that would allow me to finish on that podium, and in the end we will never know.”

As the season kicks off, Fred Vasseur, the new team boss at Ferrari, implemented changes within the strategy department. This area had been one of Scuderia’s major weaknesses in 2022, raising the question of whether there has been any notable improvement.

“I would say that department is in constant progress and we’re doing, I think, a lot of progress,” insisted Sainz. “It just hasn’t been an easy year for us.

“When you spend the whole year starting further up on the grid from where you are actually… [where] your normal race pace is, which is normally…

“Our race pace this year has been a bit worse than our qualifying pace, then there’s always going to be doubts and criticism about our race execution because you’re always kind of, because of the pace of the car, going a bit backward.

“I think that makes this first six races a bit more difficult to assess and judge.

“I do feel the team is doing everything they can and we can be as strong as possible on that department but I… like always in everything in every aspect there’s margin of improvement and we’re doing it.”

In preparation for the inaugural race of the season, Vasseur made a decisive move by reassigning Inaki Rueda, the former head of strategy, to Ferrari’s remote garage in Maranello. Meanwhile, Ravin Jain was entrusted with the responsibility of directly overseeing the team’s strategy at the racetrack.