With a new contract in his back pocket Carlos Sainz is demonstrating his talents in a less-favoured car and holds high hopes for 2017.

Crash.net: Hi Carlos, you've signed to stay at Toro Rosso for next season. How easy was the decision to renew?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I don't really have to take any decisions. Red Bull has the option and once they execute it, you have to continue. I'm also lucky also that they execute the option and I wanted it too. I think it's a really good thing for me knowing that I have the support of Red Bull. They don't usually sign young drivers so early in the season, so I'm really, really happy.

Crash.net: Is it a vote of confidence from Red Bull to you?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I think so. I think it's a vote of confidence that I can enjoy now and feel more comfortable for the rest of the season, more relaxed. Also, a secure seat in F1 is never easy, especially in a team like Toro Rosso, so to be sure of next year, it's easier for me I think.

Crash.net: Has it also increase the pressure to perform?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I think it releases a bit of pressure off your shoulders knowing that the team you are in is trusting you for next year and they don't even need you to prove... to keep a good impression of you for the rest of the year. They assure you that you can keep delivering for a couple of years, so I'm really happy.

Crash.net: Was it your only career path option or were others open?

Carlos Sainz Jr
You can never say never to other careers, but it's definitely my one and only intention at the moment to secure that seat in the future. It is a too bit crowded for me, but that doesn't mean... in F1 things can change very, very quickly. We've seen it this year, we've seen it last year, we've seen it two years ago here and there with contracts all over the place. But it's just a piece of paper, so I think.

Crash.net: Red Bull are seen as the 'A Team'? Is that a disservice to Toro Rosso?

Carlos Sainz Jr
It's a big thing in terms of drivers because usually they put their young drivers there to mature and then to move up.

In terms of team, I think it's a completely different approach. I think it's trying to make their own name other than that I think it's successfully making their name in F1. The car that they produced in the last two seasons from the chassis side has been a surprise to everyone and many people are impressed about it. So it's just now a matter of sorting out all the small details to become and even better team and I think we can do that for next year.

Crash.net: Confident of an improved performance next year by switching back to Renault power given its recent gains?

Carlos Sainz Jr
It can be a step forward. We keep talking about this P5 in Championship, but next year, everything we said, we could well be eighth or third, so we need to stay calm and wait until next year to see where we are. Hopefully Renault will keep making the steps and we have a decent power unit. We are struggling to find that at the moment.

Crash.net: Is there still more to come from the Toro Rosso package in 2016?

Carlos Sainz Jr
Yes, I think the package and the engine especially has a little development to be done. Still, we will bring some of it to the season, but nothing that we make has changed dramatically our system now. I think having the car, the same car as we had in race one and still be fighting for points shows how good the car was in race one.

Especially if we compare ourselves to McLaren that our bringing up the necessary gains plus Williams, Force India and we're still fighting. Giving them some tough time and I think I'm doing that, and we're all doing that. It's a shame about the engine, but it's something we knew before the season.

Crash.net: Do you feel like Red Bull has become your extended family now?

Carlos Sainz Jr
For sure, it does. In an F1 team at the end you have your little family and I feel that Red Bull is definitely mine and my place to be at the moment.

The amount of support I receive form them since I was 15 years old is incredible. And the amount of money they've put on me, I can't even calculate it, but it's a lot. For them to give me a contract so soon shows that we have a lot of trust in each other and we are family. Hopefully it keeps going that way.

Crash.net: What is the most important thing you've learnt while in F1?

Carlos Sainz Jr
There are many things. You never stop learning in F1. It's the typical thing that all drivers say, but it's absolutely true. But also, apart from driving, you learn a bit about the political side of F1. People don't realise how much there is outside the car. You also learn how to be in those kind of situations and it makes you not just a more mature driver and a more mature person.

Crash.net: What have you discovered new on the political side?

Carlos Sainz Jr
It's just politics. Politics is something that is bigger than many people would think and you just need to learn how to deal with them and how to accept it and how to treat them. I think that from when you are 10 years old and you look at F1 and don't realise it's there and then it is.

Crash.net: Is it a good or bad thing?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I don't see it as bad, I just think F1 has it. You never thought it would be there.

Crash.net: Since Daniil joined how has the atmosphere been in team?

Carlos Sainz Jr
Atmosphere hasn't changed much. The team is still the same group of people fighting a lot and Daniil is a great, talented driver who is bringing new things to the team. Also with good experience with Red Bull has been giving us some good directions and I think we are just going forward. We are going through a good period where two cars have been in the points in the last race. There's a bit of stability now in the team and we can look for a strong second half of the season.

Crash.net: Could you be switched to Renault next year as part of the engine deal?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I don't know really. I just know that I can be very happy with my situation in Toro Rosso and in Red Bull. I really doubt something will happen because I know nothing at this stage and I should know a little bit what's going on. But I think if Red Bull has executed the option to keep me, not to give me away, so maybe if an opportunity comes from other teams, there's a big chance they will fight for me to keep me. And if not, we will see. But I see this as like a very minor chance, honestly.

Crash.net: With you in F1 and Fernando Alonso coming towards the end of his career do you ever get a chance to look at other Spanish drivers who could break into F1?

Carlos Sainz Jr
You always look to the lower categories. I have a couple of friends in the lower categories, Spanish friends. Obviously now in F1 I am a bit busier and I can't watch every race, but every chance I get to watch some racing I do. I do and I wish them all the best.

Now it's Alex Palou in GP3, trying to make his way through. In Formula 4, we have Javier Cobian, I trained with him in go-karts. There's not many unfortunately, not many Spanish drivers, but the drivers that there are, I think they're very good.

Crash.net: What would you do to the Spanish infrastructure and junior categories to get more Spanish drivers racing?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I think the ideal way for a driver is to jump into a junior programme. If not it's very difficult nowadays to get into F1. There's so much money involved so much things involved that it's very rarely treated. My recommendation is to try and do the best you can in go-karting to be spotted by a big name like Red Bull or Ferrari. And like that you have a chance. If not, nowadays it's very difficult. It's always been, but these days, even more.

Crash.net: Does F1 need to give something back to the sport?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I don't know, I really have no idea how to solve it. Maybe it's mandatory for every F1 team to have a junior programme, I don't know. But not everyone has the resources and the money to have a junior programme. It's a very tricky situation. It needs a bit of a push on this side form F1 because if you see the amount of Spanish drivers of my time racing, there were maybe 10-12. Now there's only two of us. It's tough to make it through.

Crash.net: Do you watch MotoGP?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I do, I watch every MotoGP race. I try to watch IndyCar. I try to watch DTM, everything I can. And F3, every time I can, I have some friends also. I try to watch it.

Crash.net: Are you a Lorenzo, Marquez or Rossi fan?

Carlos Sainz Jr
I am a Marquez fan, I also get on pretty well with him, so that's why! I also respect Lorenzo for the way of riding obviously. I respect Valentino a lot for everything he has achieved.

Crash.net: What is the best advice you've received from your father?

Carlos Sainz Jr
There are so many advices that he has given me it is so difficult to pick one. Every race of my career, I have two or three advices. It's very, very tough to pick one.

Crash.net: Do you ever give advice to him?

Carlos Sainz Jr
When he races in Dakar, the first thing he does is to call me and I tell him a couple of things. Sometimes, he laughs, because he can hear himself on the phone. Because I'm using the same kinds of words and phrases, so he laughs. And sometimes we have a joke about tell him what he needs to do and what's he's done wrong. We have good fun.

Crash.net: Are you tempted to do something similar like the Dakar Rally in the future?

Carlos Sainz Jr
Let's wait and see - hopefully not!

Crash.net: Thanks for your time Carlos.