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’ sufx 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, denitely 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