Sainz penalty the “perfect” timing despite giving up Ferrari pace advantage
Ian Parkes & Will Gray
Ferrari introduced a new power unit on Charles Leclerc’s car at the Russian Grand Prix but Sainz had to wait until Turkey to fit his new unit, with the penalty incurred for the change forcing him to start at the back of the grid.
Despite that, he raced through to finish eighth, even though he suffered a slow pit stop .
Although Charles Leclerc was in competition for a podium on merit and Sainz was unable to further press him the team’s advantage over McLaren over the weekend, the Spaniard said: “I wouldn’t change the decision. I think it was the perfect race to take the penalty to then do a comeback.
“Of course, without the penalty with the old engine I would have been able to start more upfront and maybe be a bit more in the mix but in a long season, we need to put everything into perspective.
“This is a development that is giving us a better performance, as you saw. I think the decision was taken correctly and it has given me, also, the opportunity to make it back through the field.”
Binotto – Engine updates will help for 2022
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is confident that rushing through the engine developments and testing them in competitive action before an engine freeze is introduced will help the team in the long run.
He explained: “As we said when Charles introduced it in Sochi, the first objective is to try to increase our experience in the build for 2022, that is why we introduced it as soon as possible, tried to rush it and taking some risk as well.
“For us, it is key to get mileage on track and do our own experience before 2022, where the power unit somehow will be frozen. That’s really for us the key and the reason.”
Binotto refused to reveal the level of advantage the team has seen through the introduction of the new engine but said he believes it is significant enough to be helping the drivers gain places and extra points.
“It is giving us a small advantage,” he said. “I don’t want to quantify it on lap time because it is track dependent, it’s not only pure ICE power, it’s energy recovery, so it is a bit complex.
“But certainly it is giving us an advantage and as the drivers said, if I look at the quali with Charles, it was very close and I am fairly sure that a couple of positions would have been lost without that specification.”
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October 12, 2021 at 04:46PM