Car­los Sainz


Toro Rosso’s tal­ented Span­ish rookie on his friend­ship with Fer­nando Alonso – and why he had to step out from his fa­ther’s shadow

The sun is shin­ing this Thurs­day lunchtime be­fore the Bri­tish GP at Sil­ver­stone, so we head up­stairs to the roof ter­race of the shared Red Bull/Toro Rosso mo­torhome. Up here there’s a great view of the heliport on the in­side of the track and, in the dis­tance, a sea of cars and trucks.

Ready for your ques­tions is Car­los Sainz Jr, 20, one of two Toro Rosso rook­ies (along with Max Ver­stap­pen), who have taken to F1 with aplomb in 2015. Prior to the Bri­tish GP, Sainz had scored four points nishes, and at this year’s Malaysian GP, he and Ver­stap­pen even out­shone the se­nior Red Bull team.

Our ques­tion cards don’t say ‘Car­los Sainz Jr’ – the son of the dou­ble world rally cham­pion has dropped the ‘Jr’ sufx since ar­riv­ing in F1. He notes that we haven’t used it, and thanks us for our ac­cu­racy. It’s some­thing he wants to clar­ify and, hand­ily, that’s our rst ques­tion… Why did you de­cide to drop the ‘Jr’ from ‘Car­los Sainz Ju­nior’? Michael Gu­tier­rez, USA All my ca­reer I’ve been Car­los Sainz Jr, or the son of Car­los Sainz, or Car­l­i­tos. I got to a point where in Spain peo­ple just think you are in For­mula 1 be­cause you are ‘the son of’. But there has never been a Car­los Sainz in F1, so I don’t need the Jr. I want to demon­strate that I can cre­ate my own name in For­mula 1. I love my sur­name and my fa­ther and what he’s achieved, but I need to take off the ‘son of’ tag. Do you think that the good re­la­tion­ship you have with Fer­nando Alonso has helped you feel more com­fort­able in your rst sea­son of For­mula 1? Joanna Lewis, UK Yes, denitely it has helped me be­cause when you have such a big per­son­al­ity in the pad­dock who wel­comes you, it al­ways makes you feel more at home and you might have seen that we are al­ways to­gether. He doesn’t al­ways an­swer my ques­tions though – for ex­am­ple, what is the best line for Turn 1? So we don’t speak about rac­ing so much; we mostly talk about train­ing and are also gos­sip­ing about the per­son­al­i­ties in the pad­dock. We have some laughs, but we mainly talk about sports – we have a lot of things in com­mon in that sense. Who was your rac­ing hero when you were grow­ing up? Paula Car­son, Canada My rac­ing hero has al­ways been Fer­nando Alonso, and I rst started watch­ing For­mula 1 when he started win­ning. I was kart­ing back then and F1 was never my tar­get un­til I started watch­ing Alonso. I rst met him at the Span­ish Grand Prix in 2005 and then I de­cided that I wanted to be like him. He was my hero, my idol. Aside from him, my role mod­els were Senna and Schu­macher, but Alonso was al­ways my hero. There’s a say­ing in Spain – ‘make your he­roes your ri­vals’ – and this year, it has been a mas­sive per­sonal achieve­ment for me to race against him. How does driv­ing a For­mula 1 car com­pare to driv­ing in For­mula Re­nault 3.5 last year? Rachel Hil­man, UK The big­gest dif­fer­ences with the For­mula 1 car are the tyres and the en­gine. The cor­ner­ing speeds with the Re­nault 3.5 are sim­i­lar to what I have in the Toro Rosso. The big­gest changes are that I have 300bhp more, a lot more

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