Sainz calls Speed Deficit ‘A Desperate Situation’

Toro Rosso F1 driver Carlos Sainz has labelled the team’s speed deficit to rivals as ‘a desperate situation’ after his home grand prix. The Spanish driver compared his team’s power unit to Sauber, who are using a year-old Ferrari model, and said that the two do not compare.

Sainz found himself following the Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein during the Spanish Grand Prix and Sainz was unable to overtake as the German made his C36 as wide as possible impressively on aged tyres.

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MAY 14:  Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spain  during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
MONTMELO, SPAIN – MAY 14: Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spain during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

Post-race, Sainz admitted he found the straight line speed deficit concerning.

“For the first time we were fighting the Sauber and it’s a bit of a desperate situation to have a Ferrari 2016 engine faster than us on the straights, compared to our car at the moment.

I tried my best to pass him, I was getting just enough to be side by side at Turn 1 but he was covering the inside line of Turn 1. It’s tough to pass here but he was doing a good job to cover the inside line where he could – so good on him.”

– Carlos Sainz

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MAY 14: Daniil Kvyat of Russia driving the (26) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer, Marcus Ericsson of Sweden driving the (9) Sauber F1 Team Sauber C36 Ferrari and Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium driving the (2) McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team McLaren MCL32  during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MONTMELO, SPAIN – MAY 14: Daniil Kvyat of Russia driving the (26) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer, Marcus Ericsson of Sweden driving the (9) Sauber F1 Team Sauber C36 Ferrari and Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium driving the (2) McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team McLaren MCL32 during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Perhaps the only grace for Sainz was that he finished ahead of Wehrlein after the Sauber driver got handed a time penalty for an illegal pit entry. Although he remains fairly critical of his Toro Rosso team, and not for the first time in his career.

“We need a bit more power. You can see yesterday we were two-tenths to P7, so imagine if Renault brings three-tenths – suddenly everything changes. We need that step and it’ll take probably another three races, so we need to be patient. We need to keep extracting what we have.

In qualifying, we are not where we want to be, but in the race it is better and better. It’s been four consecutive races now where we try to fight back from a position in qualifying and I hope we don’t do this all year.”

– Carlos Sainz

MONTMELO, SPAIN - MAY 14:  Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spain  during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
MONTMELO, SPAIN – MAY 14: Carlos Sainz of Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spain during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 14, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)

The deficit that the Renault Power unit has can be recognised with Toro Rosso’s big brother too. Daniel Ricciardo was unable to make any inroads into the fight for the lead ahead, and ended up finishing the race with the leading duo closer to his rear, threatening to lap him, than up the road ahead.

FIA analysis suggested that 0.3s covered the Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault power units, but the gap between Red Bull and the leading two teams, as well as Sainz’ inability to make a DRS pass on a Sauber with an outdated PU just doesn’t add up, or assimilate with the claim at all.