Carlos Sainz Jr. recently claimed that Ferrari will be the only team to challenge Red Bull during the 2024 Formula 1 season.
Red Bull have run away with both championships during the 2023 Formula 1 season, and as of late, Ferrari have not been all that spectacular by any means.
But Carlos Sainz Jr. believes that Ferrari will be the only team to make a leap big enough to compete with Red Bull in 2024.
Such a statement has good and bad rooted within it. The good thing is that Sainz has full confidence in his team.
This will definitely help once he gets into that car for testing ahead of the 2024 Formula 1 season.
However, the flip side of it implies that teams such as Mercedes and McLaren will not be as competitive. Some might see that as slightly disrespectful to those teams as well, given that both have been stronger than Ferrari as a whole over the last few months.
Additionally, it is important to note that McLaren made a mid-season leap from being one of the slowest teams on the grid to being a clear number two team — nearly as good as Red Bull.
This is what Sainz specifically said on the matter.
“I am always optimistic before the season starts. I was also optimistic last year, and we stumbled. You have to be. I think that if you look at the last two years, the only ones who have been able to stand up to Red Bull a little have been the Ferrari, in the first half of last year and now with the victory in Singapore and the podium in Monza. Since there are these new regulations, Red Bull is unbeatable, but if there is someone who can win from time to time to Red Bull, it’s us.”
While Sainz is correct in that Ferrari did challenge Red Bull for a period of time last year, and they are the only non-Red Bull winner this year, they have not had that prolonged success over the course of a full season.
In the recent past, Ferrari’s management has been sub-par at best, and that is definitely a factor which has and will continue to hinder the team’s chances of challenging Red Bull.
Chances are that Ferrari will prove to be an early challenger to the back-to-back constructor champions, but like 2022, it will not last. When the time comes and things start to backfire for Sainz and teammate Charles Leclerc, people will return to this statement made by the Spaniard, especially if they aren’t even second fastest.
His statement would not be viewed the same way if he had not failed to acknowledge the other teams who will almost certainly pose a threat to Red Bull, or at least a greater threat than they have this year. As things stand, Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren will all be working tirelessly over the winter to close the gap.
Of course, if what Sainz insists does turn out to be true, then that will definitely be a great look for the 29-year-old. But if Ferrari’s performance falls below expectations yet again, this interview will surely be revisited early next season.