Carlos Sainz Jr
It is never easy to follow the footsteps of a famous father, but it seems that Carlos Sainz Jr does it pretty well. He competes in Formula One, the world's premium open-wheel championship, since 2015. He made a debut with Toro Rosso, then joined Renault in 2017 and moved to McLaren for the 2019 F1 season.
Before making a debut in Formula 1, Carlos Sainz Jr. was the Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion in 2014 and Formula Renault 2.0 NEC champion in 2011.
Carlos Sainz Vasquez de Castro is the full name of the talented Spanish racing driver. He is a son of the famous Carlos Sainz, double WRC champion and 2010 Dakar Rally winner. It was almost inevitable for Sainz Jr to try to emulate father’s career but he decided to take a chance in the circuit racing.
Carlos Jr started to race karting when he was seven years old and three years later he started to compete. Until the end of 2009, he won some major national, regional and international titles before moving to the next level. His talent was spotted by the prestigious Red Bull junior team and under the supervision of Dr. Helmut Marko, this talented Spaniard started his journey through the ranks of motorsport.
Constant moving from series to series
Formula BMW was the next step in Sainz’s career and he was very good in his rookie season. Carlos won one race and had five podiums to finish 4th overall which was a nice achievement for a teenager. He also appeared as a guest in other series like Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and European F3 Open, picking the experience for the forthcoming challenges.
Carlos Sainz Jr’s progress was evident in 2011 when he became a Formula Renault 2.0 NEC champion. Driving for Koiranen Motorsport, he won 10 out of 20 races, had other seven podiums and won the title in front of Daniil Kvyat, Stoffel Vandoorne, and Robin Frijns. Sainz Jr also finished as a runner-up in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, finishing 45 points behind Frijns.
Picking up the experience and variable results
After graduating in Formula Renault, Sainz Jr switched to more competitive Formula 3 in 2012. His schedule was very busy but the talented Spaniard still managed to record solid results. As a driver of Carlin team, Sainz Jr finished 5th at the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, winning 1 out of 20 races. In the British Formula 3, he was 6th with 5 wins out from 26 starts while in Formula 3 Euro Series, Carlos finished 9th, without a win but with two podiums out from 24 races.
Sainz moved on again in 2013, this time to the GP3 Series. Driving for Arden, Carlos struggled to find a proper rhythm and at the end of the season, he was 10th in the standings. He also raced in nine Formula Renault 3.5 Series races, driving for Zeta Corse, but failed to impress. What was more important to the son of former WRC champion was the fact that he was given an opportunity to be tested by Red Bull and Toro Rosso Formula 1 teams. Both teams were impressed by Carlos’ talent and approach, so it was only matter of time when he will get a chance in the most popular racing championship.
Carlos was Formula Renault 3.5 champion in 2014
In 2014, Carlos Sainz Jr confirmed that he is ready for the highest level. Driving for DAMS in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, he won the title after being the fastest in 7 out of 16 races, which was a new record of the series, and he finished in the standings well ahead of Pierre Gasly, Roberto Merhi, Oliver Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin. That success opened him the doors of Toro Rosso team for the 2015 Formula 1 season.
“I watched Fernando Alonso win the world championship on TV when I was 10 or 11 years old and back then I would have never dreamed that one day I would be racing against him. When Helmut Marko told me I had got the seat and I was going to race with people like him the size of what I’d achieved suddenly hit me,“ commented Sainz after the promotion to Formula 1.
Carlos Sainz had Formula 1 Grand Prix debut with Toro Rosso
From the beginning of Sainz’s F1 career, it was obvious that he has a potential. Toro Rosso driver collected points in 4 out of 6 races, including the 9th place on the debut at the Australian Grand Prix, and until the end of the season he did it other three times. He finished 15th in the Drivers’ championship with 18 points.
The rise has continued in 2016 when Carlos Sainz Jr scored points in ten (of 21) events, finishing 12th in the final standings.
Moving to Renault before the end of 2017 season
He stayed in the #55 Toro Rosso car for 2017 Formula One season, continuing to improve his results. He missed a podium at Singapore Grand Prix, finishing in the fourth place. For the last four races he moved to Renault as a replacement for Jolyon Palmer, staying in the #55 car. In four starts, his best result was the seventh place at US Grand Prix.
In 2018, Sainz begun and finished the season in the #55 Renault R.S.18. He didn't manage to repeat his career-best result from Toro Rosso days, finishing best in the fifth place at Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He ended a season tenth in the points.
Replacing Fernando Alonso in McLaren F1 Team
Following Fernando Alonso's announcement of leaving Formula One in 2019, McLaren decided to have Spanish driver again and the team signed Sainz as Alonso's replacement.
He was in the points for most of the races but the highlight of the season was his maiden F1 podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix. He finished the season sixth in the points.