Carlos Sainz Jr. admits to being impressed by the rate of development within the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team ahead of his move to the Enstone-based squad for the 2018 season.
As part of the deal to allow the Scuderia Toro Rosso team break their contract with Renault as the Faenza-based squad switch to Honda power next season, Sainz made the move to be Nico Hülkenberg’s next team-mate, although he will remain a member of the Red Bull family, being as he is on loan for one season.
And the Spaniard has been encouraged that Renault has often shown themselves to be the fourth fastest team in 2017, a vast improvement on 2016 when they were often towards the back of the field.
“I’ve seen that a lot of time Renault has been the fourth-fastest team this year,” said Sainz to GP Gazette. “And what I’ve also seen is the development they’ve had during the season, which also creates a smile on my face, because I know how much they’ve developed and how much effort they are putting into everything.
“I follow them very closely because they also have the same power unit as us [at Toro Rosso]. I know the progress they’ve made.”
Sainz admits he is happy to become a manufacturer driver for Renault next season, and he feels it represents a big step up for him, and he is looking to aid, alongside Hülkenberg, the team in progressing further up the grid.
“I think when a driver becomes a manufacturer driver it’s a step in a career, and it means you are now part of a massive organisation, not only in motorsport, but a car company,” added Sainz.
“Apart from that it’s a manufacturer that wants to become world champions. They want to do it in the medium- to short-term, and they’ve trusted me to help them to do that.
“The next step is the difficult one, and that’s why in 2018 I want to help them to take the next step. If it’s to consolidate as the fourth team or be the third team, I don’t know, this we haven’t talked about yet.
“I want to help them to score as many points as possible, and together with Nico [Hulkenberg] to take them to the next level.”