Carlos Sainz believes it is reasonable to assume Toro Rosso will be in the hunt for points at the opening round of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship in Australia after a strong showing pre-season testing.
The Spaniard and his team-mate Max Verstappen have shown remarkable longevity during the two tests, between them notching up 514 and 577 laps respectively, a 1091 lap total second only to Mercedes overall, while Sainz's ultra-soft effort on the final day place him fifth on the combined timesheets.
Getting acquainted with the year-old Ferrari engine Toro Rosso will be using in 2016, Sainz has been hugely impressed by the level of reliability considering the difficult preparation that came with a late decision to switch from Renault power.
“I am very, very excited. It was another good day for the team and a good day for me. I want to congratulate everyone on the great test we've had done and produced. I cannot wait to go to Melbourne. We have built up a lot of confidence with the Ferrari power unit, with the Ferrari people and the STR mechanics, pit stops and myself.”
Looking ahead to the Australian Grand Prix opener, Sainz feels Toro Rosso can place itself well into the mid-pack and is confident he can be contesting positions in Q3 and the points in Melbourne.
“Hopefully in Melbourne we will see we are as close to Williams in the speed traps and our direct competitors like Force India so we will see. We should be in the pack in the midfield, fighting for points and to get into Q3.”