Carlos Sainz is confident that both he and the Scuderia Toro Rosso team can expect better things from the 2016 F1 season, as they look to build on an already impressive debut campaign together.

Although the Spaniard's first year as an F1 driver was marked by highs and lows - ranging from a string of mechanical retirements and his heavy accident in practice for the Russian Grand Prix to regular points finishes in an under-rated car - he is already looking forward to the new season, where he will again partner fellow hot-shot second generation team-mate Max Verstappen at STR.

The pair were among F1's biggest talking points in 2015 and, despite Toro Rosso ultimately falling behind the likes of Force India and Toro Rosso in the battle for fifth place in the constructors' table, helped the Italian squad beat both Sauber and the once-mighty McLaren. Reunited in 2016, and with Ferrari engines replacing the Renault units that often derailed the 2015 campaign, Sainz's outlook is positive.

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"I think I learned how difficult it is to always give your 100 per cent every race weekend, throughout the whole season," he reflected in an interview with the team's website, "This year, there are even more races on the calendar, so my training purpose is thought to improve my performance, race by race. I expect a long but fun championship ahead, where I will make the most of all what I learned last year and I'm sure that we will make a step forward in terms of performance. It will be a challenging season, but that doesn't scare me at all... Let's not forget that I'm living the dream of my life!"

Already back in training for the coming year, Sainz is determined that fitness won't be an issue as he combines traditional gym work with a physical karting-based work-out.

"I started training on 2 January [and], this year, my programme has changed a bit compared to 2015," he noted, "It generally consists of three different parts: cardio, strength and specific training. For the cardio exercise, I do triathlons, while, to improve my strength, I train in the gym and, for the specific training, I go karting. On average I train three times a day... This is a very physically demanding workout, but it's what I need to prepare myself in the best way possible for the season ahead."