The Maranello team came under fire in the immediate aftermath of Paul Ricard’s race when television coverage gave the impression the podium was hesitant and confused by its tire strategy with Sainz.
With the Spanish running medium, Ferrari had to decide in hindsight whether or not his tires would come to the finish, eventually concluding that he would need another stop.
But while Sainz was battling with Sergio Perez to take a podium place, the French Grand Prix broadcast showed Ferrari calling him oddly just as he beat his Red Bull rival, and once he crossed to enter the goal lane.
Ferrari’s director of strategy Inaki Rueda explained that the timing of this message on television made it look like the team had made a huge mistake, when the truth was that things were much more under control.
Speaking in Ferrari’s regular debriefing of Ferrari’s post-race strategy, Rueda said: “The way TV production feeds data to viewers, has a delay in it.
“In this case, I saw Perez and Carlos quarrel on lap 41. We were talking with Carlos, we saw that Carlos couldn’t get past Perez on his back straight, and on turn 10 we called up Carlos.
“Of course he was fighting with Perez. He thought he would bring him next, which is why he decided to say: ‘Please don’t come in.'” Not this lap.”
“Now, you’re watching TV live. That telecast call came in at Turn 15, right after entering the pit: and that doesn’t make sense, because we’re calling the driver so late he can’t really answer our call?”
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Zach Mauger/Motorsports Pictures
Rueda said that with the average tire’s life expectancy of 25 laps, and Sainz needing to make 35 laps of it, pushing hard to the finish with them wouldn’t be an option.
Plus, with a five-second penalty for an unsafe launch earlier in the race, there was no chance of Sainz dropping Perez and George Russell behind him enough to hold onto the position.
So instead, Ferrari chose to leave him late enough to secure fifth place and an extra point for the fastest lap.
“this is [penalty] It actually changed our entire approach for that last period, because even though Carlos managed to get past Russell and Perez, he wouldn’t be able to open a five-second gap on them, having to take care of those middle tires to the finish,” he said.
“With this in mind, we decided to play Carlos and make sure he comes back and he gets an extra point on the fastest lap.”