Ferrari finished third in the standings with fewer than half the points of champion Red Bull. But Sainz thinks Ferrari can use the off-season to erase that gap for 2024 based on the example set by McLaren, which overcame a torrid start to 2023 to become the second-fastest team.

Asked about the prospects of challenging Red Bull from the off, Sainz replied: "I think it has to be our realistic aim. Yes. Will we manage to do it? Only time will time.

"I want the team to be thinking that it is possible because I believe it is. Also, we've proven that if McLaren has been able to do these steps during the season, I'm perfectly confident that Ferrari can do it over a winter break."

McLaren failed to score a point in the opening two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia but following a three-stage upgrade that transformed the aerodynamics of the MCL60, its drivers went on to bag nine podiums, plus rookie Oscar Piastri won the Qatar sprint race.

Since the SF-23 proved strong in qualifying, as shown by Sainz and team-mate Charles Leclerc scoring seven pole positions, the Spaniard reckons the Scuderia needs to focus on making the car into an "all-rounder".

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Underlining his faith in the designers to "turn things around", he continued: "I trust this team. I trust the capacity that we have back at home to turn things around.

"There are still circuits where we are on pole by 0.3 seconds to the Red Bull. It's just that it's a very specific trait of the car that really is good. We just need to make it an all-rounder."

Singapore winner Sainz reckons the 2024 car already feels different in the simulator compared to its predecessor, which he praised for its top speed, braking and short-corner behaviour.

But he added that Ferrari must not be afraid to sacrifice these traits to take a bigger step forward overall: "The car has very, very strong points. But I feel like if we want to have a car for the whole year, maybe we need to give away some of these traits to make sure that we're quick everywhere, especially in the race.

"I think it's in the races where we need to really focus on understanding what are we doing to this car."

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