Carlos Sainz admits that he and Ferrari are "relatively concerned" following their reliability issues at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc was forced to retire from third place on Lap 41 of the race due to technical problems, and it has since been confirmed that the Monegasque will take a grid penalty in Jeddah after having to take on a third control electronics unit.
While Sainz finished P4 in Bahrain, the Spaniard acknowledges that the problems for Leclerc left the team facing a "bad situation".
Sainz voices 'concern' over reliability
"For sure, we are relatively concerned," Sainz told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"It's not the way you want to start a season, with a penalty in race two. Breaking the battery and the ECU in the first weekend, clearly we are not happy with that and we identify it as a weakness.
"It's the first time we've seen this failure in a very, very long time, so it caught us by surprise. We're putting things in place to fix it, and I'm pretty sure that we are capable of fixing that in the short-term.
"So yeah, it's a bad situation, but now we can only look forward and improve it and make sure that we are also more competitive this weekend."
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Ferrari still making progress, says Sainz
When asked by RacingNews365.com if the 'small niggles' that have cropped up at Ferrari in recent times are a sign of a deeper systemic issue, Sainz defended the progress that has been made by the team.
"I think it's simply a sign that there's someone out there just doing a bit of a better job than us, and that we need to raise the bar," he explained.
"While we are raising the bar every year and becoming a stronger team, the others are doing the same. It's not only how much you can progress from one year to another, it's how much you can progress relative to the rest of the field.
"I've been in Ferrari three years and the progress I've seen inside the team from 2021 to 2023 is huge. It's just so far it hasn't been enough to beat either Red Bull or Mercedes. We were P3 [in 2021], last year we were P2.
"Obviously the start of the season has been tough and we faced issues with race pace and reliability that we honestly did not expect to face, and it caught us a bit [off] guard, but we're putting everything in place to make sure it doesn't happen.
"I think we're going to do a good job this year on development and we have a very clear target of what we need to improve on the car. The car is responding exactly as it was in the wind tunnel, so we know where the car is weak and what we want to [improve]."
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken as they discuss all the key talking points ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.