Carlos Sainz says Scuderia Toro Rosso's strong performances with its 'unique' Ferrari engine in 2016 is testament to the team's ability to create a strong car independently from Red Bull.

Widely regarded as the 'B Team' to the four-time title winning outfit, Toro Rosso had benefitted from the decision to bring it into line with Red Bull Racing by mirroring its supply of Renault engines in 2014 and 2015, only for a contract wrangle by the parent team to force it into a deal with Ferrari for 2016.

Using a year-old Power Unit, Toro Rosso has nonetheless enjoyed a competitive first-half to the 2016 season having scored points in all but three events, with Sainz coming into the summer break just two points shy of the overall drivers' top ten.

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With Toro Rosso set to be brought back into line with Red Bull for 2017 after securing a new Renault deal, though Sainz feels the team will benefit from forging a closer working relationship again he believes it has shown what it can do independently.

"I think it will always help [having the same engine], the closer you are working to a top team like Red Bull it will always help," the Spaniard said.

"At the moment everything is different at the rear of the car for us and at the front, that has nothing to do really, it still demonstrates that Toro Rosso on its own can do a very, very good job, I still think we are the fourth or fifth best chassis or best aerodynamics on the grid despite the lack of power.

"The closer we can get to Red Bull I'm convinced the closer we will get to the top. The issue will be for us to beat teams like Williams or Force India, so hopefully next year we will improve, the links will be even tighter, and we will become even more of a help to Red Bull than we are now."