The podium in Miami has boosted his confidence after he managed just one racing lap in the previous two Grands Prix in Emilia Romagna and Australia. Carlos Sainz is coming to his home-race feeling optimist and energized, after spending the last week in a training camp in Madrid before heading over to Barcelona.
“It hasn’t been the easiest start of the season,” said the Spaniard.
“I’m not a hundred per cent happy with how it has started, and I’m still not a hundred per cent happy with the car. But we’re always fighting for podiums and, when I finished the race, I always got to the podium.
“Of course, those two zero in Imola and Australia are costing me a lot in the drivers’ standings but I’m trying to look at it in a positive way.
“With seventeen races still to go and the new upgrade package I think we can really be optimistic”
Talking about the new cars and how he is adapting to them, Sainz claimed he can already feel the effects of stiffer suspensions along with the porpoising issue that many teams are lamenting in 2022.
"I think it's going to be a big challenge," he said. "I think already the kerbs in Miami felt proper aggressive in these cars. There's been a few bumps in Imola that were quite hard on the body.
“More than Monaco, I think as drivers and F1, we need to think [about] how much of a toll a driver should be paying for his back and his health in an F1 career with this kind of car philosophy? I think we need to open the debate more than anything.
“I think the regulations are great. They're doing exactly what we need for racing. But do we need to run as stiff for our necks and back as we are having to run lately, with this car mass?
"For me, it's more a philosophical question that I put out there, maybe for F1 and everyone to rethink about how much the driver needs to actually pay a price in his career with his health, in order to combat this.
"Monaco will be tough and all that, but I'm thinking more long term," he concluded.
Asked if he has had some diagnosis after his big shunt in Miami, which he admitted causing some troubles throughout the race in Florida two weeks ago, he simply admitted feeling much stiffer compared to previous seasons.
"I haven't had expert advice," he admitted. "I've done my usual checks on my back, neck tightness, and I see this year I'm tighter everywhere.
"I'm already feeling it. I don't need expert advice to know that 10 years like this it's going to be tough, and you're going to need to work a lot on mobility, and flexibility. I'm going to need to invest in health, overall body health."
"I'm strong, I'm very fit, I consider myself one of the fittest drivers, and I've never struggled in an F1 race at all.
“But it's more long-term and for the benefit of all of us that maybe we should put it out there to talk about and see what options do we have,” then he went on saying:
“There is the interest of the team, of the overtaking, the show…but what if we start factoring in also the drivers in the equation? It would be an interesting thing”
Asked if the FIA would have to get involved, he said: "It will get to a point that when if we decide to go in certain directions the FIA needs to get involved for sure. Let's see in the future."
The F1-75 has been an impressive challenger so far this season, winning two of the opening three races. But it’s fallen behind Red Bull’s RB18 on pure performance in the last couple of GPs, with the two leading contenders taking differing approaches to development. Indeed, while Red Bull has already brought on some small upgrades, Ferrari has chosen to wait until the beginning of the European races to add new features to their car.
“I think they had an advantage in the last two races,” commented Sainz, “but it will be very track-dependent and set up related. At the moment it is very difficult to get a grasp of who is the best”.
“We’re very close to one another so it will a season-long battle,” he concluded.