Carlos Sainz Jr says he has not given himself any specific targets for his rookie season with Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Although he has more racing experience than his team mate Max Verstappen, he has less F1 mileage than the Dutchman. Both men drove the STR10 at a filming day in Misano this week.
“I think it’s not the moment to put any expectations or objectives,” he said in Jerez today. “I think it’s the moment to learn, to develop the car with Max and do a good job with the whole team. So far they have done the job because we have been the first team to put a car on track, and do those first 10-20 laps with the car.
“For sure we’ll be pushing each other, every F1 driver will be pushing the other team mate. Max and I will have to learn a lot this year, we’ll have to learn together also, especially 12 days of testing, six each – we’ll have to join our experience, let’s put it like that, to help the team as much as possible. Obviously our experience is not the same as the McLaren pair, or any other pair, but I think working together in the tests we can do a good job.”
Meanwhile while Verstappen’s age has ensured that he’s been in the global media spotlight, Sainz says he’s been busy at home:“In Spain I also had a bit of attention, everyone with ‘the new Fernando Alonso’ and all that. It’s things that must happen, and it’s normal. I don’t complain. I’m happy, it’s your dream come true, you cannot complain about your personal life.”
Red Bull has confirmed that Carlos Sainz Jr will race for Toro Rosso in 2015, alongside Max Verstappen.
The team has been expecting to announce its line-up next Monday, but main rival for the job Jean-Eric Vergne pre-empted any announcement by using Twitter to say that he had been dropped.
Any last question marks over Sainz were addressed after a strong performance while testing the Red Bull RB10 in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.
“Ever since I have been part of Red Bull’s Young Driver Programme, this has been my aim,” said Sainz. “And I want to thank Red Bull for putting their faith in me. I have had a very successful season in World Series by Renault this year and now I am looking forward to taking the step up to Formula 1. I tested for a day with Toro Rosso last year and I liked the atmosphere in the team. In the next few months I will be working hard on my preparation, ready to get in the cockpit in Jerez for the first test of next year. It will be nice to make my “official” debut as a Formula 1 driver in my home country!”
Team boss Franz Tost added: “With Carlos Sainz joining Max Verstappen in our driver line-up next year, we continue the Toro Rosso tradition of providing youngsters from the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme with their first steps in Formula 1. I have watched Carlos progress through the junior categories, always improving as he moved higher up the ladder, culminating in a well-deserved win in this year’s World Series. However, I also remember the day’s testing he did with us at Silverstone in 2013 in the STR8. He really surprised me and his engineers that day, with his mature approach and his speed.”
Jean-Eric Vergne has used Twitter to reveal that he won’t be driving for Toro Rosso next year.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko told this writer in Abu Dhabi that an announcement would come next week, so clearly Vergne has decided to or been allowed to pre-empt that.
Once source told this writer than Vergne has known since August – in effect when Max Verstappen entered the picture – that he would be out. It’s understood that team principal Franz Tost was keen to retain him in order to have one experienced driver in the line-up, but the decision was made by Red Bull.
The Frenchman said: “Despite a good season & 22 pts, I’ll not drive anymore for Toro Rosso in 2015. Thanks for those years. Let’s go for another big challenge.”
Confirmation of his departure obviously leaves the door open for Carlos Sainz Jr, who drove for Red Bull in Abu Dhabi yesterday. GP3 champion Alex Lynn, who tested for Lotus today, could be the logical choice as third driver for STR/RBR.