Alain Prost believes bringing in Carlos Sainz Jr. alongside Nico Hülkenberg for the final four races of the 2017 Formula 1 season is just what the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team needed as they fight for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Sainz replaced Jolyon Palmer ahead of last weekend’s United States Grand Prix and immediately secured a seventh place finish to help leapfrog the Haas F1 Team into seventh place in the standings, and Prost, a four-time World Champion working as an advisor for Renault, said it was a fantastic start to their partnership as they look to catch and pass both Scuderia Toro Rosso and Williams Martini Racing before the end of the season.
“It’s always a small risk that you take when you change a driver in the middle of the season, but in fact it was exactly what we wanted to have,” said Prost to Motorsport.com.
“It’s not being rude with Jolyon, but we are constructors and we need to have everything not perfect, but better, and we know we have a lot to do still.
“We are not going to develop [the car] very much, so we want to have the two drivers doing more or less what they have done. I hope we don’t have reliability problems, and get the two in the points in the last three races, if possible.”
Prost acknowledges that Sainz is not likely to be at Renault long-term, with the current deal with Red Bull covering only until the end of the 2018 season, but the Frenchman wants to ensure that there is a strong relationship between driver and team whilst the Spaniard is racing with the Enstone-based squad.
“In this situation we don’t have all the keys, but the market is very open next year,” said Prost. “There is no reason why we should change, but because we don’t have all in our hands, we have to wait a little bit.
“We are lucky to get Carlos, because we wanted him, but we don’t have him for the long term, so we have to be careful. For us, that’s not a problem. We are in a period where we are building, so the timing is OK.
“We want to establish a strong relationship with him.”