Red Bull enters this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix looking for its 10th straight win after enjoying a dominant streak that has left Ferrari winless since the Austrian Grand Prix on July 10.
Max Verstappen broke the record for most wins in a single season with his 14th win of the year at the final race in Mexico, having won the drivers’ title two rounds earlier in Japan.
Although Ferrari has claimed five pole positions since Austria – two more than Red Bull – the team has struggled to compete over race distances, particularly struggling with tire degradation.
Sainz acknowledged that Verstappen and Red Bull were “the fastest package” this year en route to the championship, saying Ferrari would have to be “perfect” next year to fight.
But he felt the team has “chances” for next year, as the F1-75’s performance is not far from what Red Bull produced during its dominant run.
“Red Bull has been dominant but they have been dominant without being clearly ahead on pace,” Sainz said.
“I don’t feel like we’re that far behind in terms of car development and performance. If you think about it, I was on pole in Austin, we were 1-2 in Austin in qualifying, so it must be that our car isn’t that far off. Red Bull.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
“What we need to focus on is trying to understand next year’s tyres, see how we can be faster in the race, because it’s clear that Red Bull is particularly fast in the race compared to us.
“For strategy, race execution, tire management, this is another step we want to take next year and we’re already working on it. But in terms of pure performance, we’re not far off. [off]🇧🇷
“We just need to put a little more power and a little more downforce into the car and we’ll be at the same level or faster. Let’s hope we can do that.”
Sainz claimed his first F1 victory at the British Grand Prix in July but struggled to match teammate Charles Leclerc’s form earlier in the year, leaving a 63-point gap between Ferrari drivers with two races left this year.
Sainz said he would “need to improve especially in the first half of the season and the races” for next year, but felt Ferrari needed to be ambitious in its aim to overtake Red Bull.
“That’s the target,” he said. “You need to set high goals for yourself and your team. You can try to achieve them, and we’ll see what life brings to the table next year.”