Carlos Sainz says Toro Rosso has already started to turn its attention 'quite a lot' to 2017 ahead of a return to Renault power units and next year's regulations revamp.
The Spanish driver has continued to impress and develop in his second season in F1 and despite confirming he is always looking out for an opportunity 'at a top team', he is intrigued by Toro Rosso's plans for next year.
Sainz has seen his former team-mate Max Verstappen promoted to Red Bull at the expense of Daniil Kvyat, while also receiving a stronger and renewed contract, and Daniel Ricciardo looks assured in the sister Red Bull.
As a result, Sainz appears destined to stay at Toro Rosso for a third consecutive campaign for 2017 but is optimistic after it secured a new deal with Renault for next year as the teams tilts its efforts for the new regulations.
“Toro Rosso are doing things right for next year,” Sainz said. “They are switching quite a lot of focus to next year and the Renault power unit looks like it could be close to the Ferrari power unit in 2016 so it looks like we could have a good package.
“It is still too early but it looks like we are going in the right direction and this new deal with Renault we know each other pretty well.”
Assessing his own future, Sainz says he's gained assurances from Red Bull his F1 future is safe and he is waiting for a similar opportunity which fell to Verstappen in Barcelona last month.
“Whenever I speak with Red Bull they are very happy with me and happy with Toro Rosso, it is just a matter of time before an opportunity comes up at a top team,” he said. “I say it because I really believe it, if I keep doing what I am doing soon an opportunity will come.”