Carlos Sainz has dismissed claims Ferrari are in a Formula 1 "crisis", suggesting those who are making such claims want to "destabilise" the team.
Ferrari have flattered to deceive in the 2023 season, the SF-23 proving well off the pace of Red Bull's RB19, and is engaged in a fight for second-best with Aston Martin and Mercedes.
The Scuderia have also suffered reliability concerns, with Charles Leclerc taking a 10-place grid drop in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for exceeding his allocation of power unit components.
And Sainz - who has fourth and sixth place finishes to his name - has rubbished suggestions that the 16-time Constructors' champions are in a crisis.
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Sainz rubbishes Ferrari claims
When asked about the attention surrounding Ferrari after their difficult start to the season, Sainz referred to the suggestions of instability at the team as "rumours".
"It is a lot better than what the news make it sound like," he explained to media, including RacingNews365.
"When you look back at [the week between Bahrain and Saudi], and how many rumours have been around, it seems like the place is not in a great moment.
"But I can tell you, it is so clear to us what we need to improve, how we need to do it, and what the short, medium and long-term targets are.
"I am actually very surprised how some people back home have been trying to destabilise the team, because some call it a crisis.
"It is impossible to judge the performance in this race."
Ferrari "most-affected" by slump
There were high hopes that Ferrari would be Red Bull's closest challengers in 2023 after a strong 2022 campaign ultimately fizzled out.
The one-time Grand Prix winner admits that Ferrari themselves are "most affected" by a lack of results and performance.
"We are the first ones that are not happy with how the first race went, and we are the most bothered about it," he said.
"We are the most affected by it, and we are going to try as much as possible to try and improve it.
"I'm pretty calm about it and I see people at home committed, focused and with a very clear target in mind, and I include myself in it."
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken, with new host Balve Baines, as they discuss the key talking points from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.