The atmosphere at Scuderia Toro Rosso is much improved following the departure of Max Verstappen to parent team Red Bull Racing and the arrival of former STR driver Daniil Kvyat in his place, according to Carlos Sainz Jr.
The Spaniard appears to have gone from strength to strength following the switch, with a particularly fine performance at his home grand prix in Barcelona, and Sainz Jr explained when speaking to motorsport.com recently, that it is in part down to the team situation being much more relaxed than it was previously.
“The situation has changed a bit for sure. Everything has reshuffled a bit and I think everyone in the team is working really well.
“Myself [along] with Daniil [Kvyat], we are working towards the same direction, we are pushing the team forward.
“If this is making myself look more relaxed, I don’t know. But it could be also that I started having less bad luck in Barcelona.
“I am relaxed because of that [Barcelona’s performance], I arrived into Russia thinking that everything is happening to me, but after Barcelona I am calm now because it’s okay.”
Since the change in driver personnel, former team-mate Verstappen has gone on to win his first ever grand prix, making him the youngest ever F1 race winner, and whilst no victories have come Sainz Jr’s way, he has certainly upped his game. Or are his performances perhaps just more noticeable now with the removal of wonder kid Verstappen, upon whom everyone’s eyes have been keenly fixated, having finally given the Spaniard a chance to shine?
The 21-year-old explained that he has not done anything differently in the last few races, but feels the team is now on top of its early season delays and is performing much better.
“I can tell you my approach hasn’t changed at all in terms of how I prepare for a race, how I come into a race, my mentality hasn’t changed.
“The team is growing. As I said Monaco was a setback but the team is growing a lot, the arrival of John [Booth] for sure is helping.
“The shuffle, everything is working towards the right direction, even if we are not bringing upgrades for first seven races, we have actually not fallen back.
“We are staying up there while all our competitors are bringing upgrades after upgrades. We have the same thing since the first race, we haven’t fallen back. So it means we are developing well.”
Sainz Jr has always dreamed that he will one day win the Formula One world championship with parent team Red Bull Racing, however with bosses regularly happy to overlook the Spaniard for other drivers when opportunities come a knocking, and the Milton Keynes based squads current line-up locked in until at least the end of 2018, could the time now be right for the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 champion to get out of the Red Bull programme, and make a name for himself elsewhere in the paddock?