It is twice now that Carlos Sainz has been overlooked when a move up to the Red Bull Racing team has come a knocking, first of all when Mark Webber retired from Formula One and Daniil Kvyat was promoted into his seat, and again this season when the Russian was demoted back to the Scuderia Toro Rosso squad. On this occasion, Team-mate Max Verstappen got the call ahead of the Spaniard, but despite the snubs Sainz is confident that his time with a top team will come, whether that be with Red Bull or not.
The 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 champion is convinced that Red Bull bosses are impressed with the job he has been doing for their second team, and when speaking to motorsport.com recently, he confirmed that belief.
“I’m feeling positive, because there’s been a good couple of races, I feel a good tendency coming.
“Whenever I speak to Red Bull, they are very happy with me and I’m very happy with Toro Rosso and just a matter of time that an opportunity comes up to go to a top team.
“I keep saying this because I really believe so, that if I keep doing what I’m doing soon an opportunity will come.”
Sainz is content to remain with the Toro Rosso team for now, having been able to score some strong results for the Faenza based team, who he has come to know well over the last two seasons, the Spaniard sees no reason to up sticks. With the added bonus of the much improved Renault engine coming in 2017, things are looking good for the Austrian owned squad, and the 21-year-old believes they are moving in the right direction.
“It’s not a bad place. I know Toro Rosso are doing things right for next year. The Renault power unit looks like it could be quite close to the Ferrari one, so it all says we could have a decent package next year.
“It’s still too early but it looks like we are going in the right direction.”
So far in 2016, the season may not have gone to plan for Sainz and Toro Rosso, but a strong performance in Spain and coming close to a top five finish in Monaco, has seen morale boosted and the Spaniard is positive of further improvements being possible in the remaining races.
“For me the first four races were very frustrating. Then suddenly in Barcelona nothing strange happened and I managed to score a very decent result. My strongest weekend in Formula 1 so far.
“Monaco was looking the same and a very small detail happened. But Barcelona and Monaco have been two positive races for me and that’s why I’m confident that I can keep going like that.”
Being unable to develop their engine across the season, due to making a late call to run with 2015 specification Scuderia Ferrari engines in 2016, is a worry, as the Faenza based squad could start to lag behind their rivals who will be able to make PU advances, whilst they still have tokens available. But Sainz believes that there will still be opportunities for the team to maximise their package and score some valuable points before it is too late.
“I think before the summer we still have a couple of races there with Silverstone and Budapest that can play to our strengths. It’s true that the best opportunity for me was in Monaco.
“Sorry to insist, but we lost a big, big chance of scoring a podium there with the bad pitstop, but we learned from it and all know that we lost a podium there. It’s a bit pity, but now it’s forgotten.”
Why Sainz is continually never under consideration by Red Bull is a puzzling one, as he has never really been outshone by the drivers the Milton Keynes based team consider worthy of taking a chance on. The Spaniard has proved himself a worthy competitor throughout his career, dominating the Formula Renault 3.5 championship in 2014, which he won by claiming a record breaking seven victories.
In his rookie year with Toro Rosso, the Spaniard held his own against team-mate and F1 star of the moment, Verstappen, with only a spate of reliability issues seeing him finish 18 points behind the Dutchman at the end of the season. In 2016, now with Kvyat as his team-mate, after starting out the year with the Dutchman, he has again shown that he is every bit as talented as the other Red Bull drivers.
Let us hope that in the case of Sainz, Red Bull do not do what they are now sadly renowned for – taking a young, talented driver, helping him climb up the ladder to F1, then discarding him just as quickly, destroying his career and crushing his dreams!