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Ferrari’s F1 Setback: Carlos Sainz Reveals Costly ‘Lost Months’ in Development

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Carlos Sainz expressed concerns that Ferrari is "months behind" their competitors in F1 development.

According to Carlos Sainz, Ferrari has fallen behind by “two or three months” in development compared to their Formula 1 competitors due to the removal of a problematic upgrade.

At the Spanish Grand Prix last month, Ferrari introduced a significant new upgrade to their SF-24. However, they have been struggling with an unexpected issue of the car bouncing in high-speed turns.

Following an experimental session on Friday at Silverstone, Ferrari decided to switch back to the floor and bodywork specifications they had previously used at Imola for the remainder of the British Grand Prix weekend.

Carlos Sainz secured the seventh position in the qualifying round at Silverstone, whereas Charles Leclerc did not make it to Q3 and ended up in 11th place. In the race on Sunday, they finished in fifth and 14th places, respectively.

"It's obviously insufficient," Sainz remarked. "We're essentially using the same vehicle as we did in Imola, while every other team has likely improved their cars by about two-tenths of a second. Unfortunately, we've had to go back to an earlier version."

"We've missed out on about two or three months’ worth of progress in the wind tunnel. This means we couldn't make the improvements we were aiming for during this period, indicating that our recent decisions haven't been effective."

"Today felt like a return to fundamentals, similar to the car we had in Imola. We need to build on this progress, but it's evident that our competitors have a considerable lead over us."

Sainz indicated that Ferrari might need to "accept" the new setup for the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix, considering that the Hungaroring track is mostly made up of slow, winding turns.

"We will continue to bounce in turns four and eleven, but nothing better will happen until then," Sainz stated.

"We may have to tolerate the bouncing issue at low speeds, and on high-speed tracks, we might need to use the floor from the older package if the new one proves to be unmanageable."

"This is where we stand," he mentioned. "I believe the team will make the correct decisions from one circuit to the next until we have a more stable setup that performs well at both high and low speeds. Once we achieve that, we can start aiming to compete with the top three teams again."

When questioned about the possibility of Ferrari reverting to their Barcelona setup for the Budapest race, team principal Fred Vasseur responded: "We need to thoroughly analyze this weekend's performance, taking into account that Silverstone was by far the most challenging track regarding bouncing, with its numerous high-speed corners and other factors."

“We’ll have enough opportunity to talk it over and make a decision regarding Budapest.”

Addressing the challenges of bouncing that have been hindering Ferrari, Vasseur commented, “I believe this remains an uncertainty for everyone, as the bouncing can suddenly appear without warning. Establishing a correlation is quite challenging since you can't replicate the bouncing effect in the wind tunnel.”

"Everyone has standards to measure, and while I won't get into specifics, you can expect varying results. You might see some fluctuations with this component compared to another, but determining whether it will adversely affect performance is a different matter."

"There are numerous ways to address this issue. Some solutions might involve a trade-off in performance, while others maintain performance levels by creating new packages. I believe we have now reached that point."

“We might have to use the current vehicle in the next race, and the sooner we can address this, the better. We'll be introducing an upgrade that reduces bouncing.”

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