Ferrari addresses controversy over Carlos Sainz’s French GP strategy

Ferrari came under fire again after the French Grand Prix as fans questioned its strategy with Carlos Sainz, and both the Prancing Horse and the Spaniard were quick to defend the appeal.

The Spaniard fought his way from the back of the grid and found himself battling for a potential podium spot. Sainz worked his way up to fifth before disaster struck under safety triggered by teammate Charles Leclerc. In the pits, Ferrari launched Sainz directly into the path of a Williams car, triggering a five-second penalty for a dangerous exit.

With a time penalty, drivers can either serve it during the race the next time they stop, or finish the race and be docked afterwards. Sainz continued his chase for the podium, passing George Russell before taking on Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

But as Sainz began to overtake Perez for the podium spot, the broadcast showed Ferrari calling on the Spaniard to box as he passed the Red Bull driver. And, Sainz had already passed the pit entrance.

Prancing Horse sporting director and head of race strategy Iñaki Rueda addressed the controversy and how the appeal that caused a stir on social media was delayed during the broadcast. He actually came several rounds earlier.

“There’s a lag in how TV production gets data to viewers,” Rueda said in the team’s regular post-race analysis. “In this case, you saw that Perez and Carlos were fighting on lap 41. We were talking to Carlos, and we saw that Carlos couldn’t pass Perez on the backstretch, and in turn 10 we actually called Carlos.

“Of course he was fighting with Perez. He thought he would have the next round, and that’s why he decided to [say]: ‘Please do not enter. Not this round.’ Now you were watching live TV. This call came on the TV wire at turn 15, just after entering the pits: which makes no sense, because if we had called the driver so late, he would not have been able to respond to our call.

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Ferrari chose to oppose it because of tire life. Sainz was on a medium tire, and according to Rueda, the life expectancy is around 25 laps. But after the safety car, there were still 35 to go. The chief strategy officer explained that once a driver exceeds the tire’s life expectancy, they need to “heal” it and go slower, otherwise it could trigger tire failure.

The time penalty also changed the team’s approach for the final stint as Sainz would have had to service the medium tires to finish the race. He may have passed Russell and Perez, but Rueda said Sainz was “never going to be able to open a five-second gap” on those two while nursing the tyres.

Sainz was quick to defend Ferrari’s strategy on Sunday.

“I think the team is doing a really good job on strategy this year,” Sainz told sky sports television. “At Ferrari we get a lot of criticism for things that other teams might go through in their pit stop windows as well.

“Whenever there’s an awkward moment on strategy, we discuss things, but we’re not a disaster like people seem to say. We like to discuss things, we’re open about them.

The Spaniard later added: “The team have a lot more data on the computer, they have a lot more numbers to go through, and if they’ve made that decision I’m 100 per cent convinced that they’ll do it. did with the best intentions and the best spirit.

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