Carlos Sainz wants to become a better all-rounder in his Formula 1 driver performances and hopes it reflects in his results as he looks to carry McLaren’s recent momentum into 2020.

The Spanish driver was on hand to help reveal the Woking-based team’s 2020 F1 car, the MCL35, as the team aims to reduce the deficit to the top three teams while balancing its 2021 preparations for the rules overhaul and its switch to Mercedes engines.

Sainz ended last year as the top F1 midfield fighter in sixth place in the drivers’ standings while also collecting him maiden podium when Lewis Hamilton was penalised at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

While the 25-year-old is naturally aiming to improve on his best season in F1 so far, Sainz wants to step up in every area and has changed his winter training programme to incorporate high-intensity cardio work through boxing and squash.

“It all goes around what I measure in winter testing from my heart rates, the way I see my body behave through a race,” Sainz said.

“I want to become a fitter guy. I also do it as I like feeling like an athlete going into a race weekend, I like feeling flexible, I like feeling fit, I like feeling lean, that gives me good self-confidence and when you have that you usually perform better as an athlete and as a racing driver.

“There’s not particular any point I want to improve, I should just let myself gain another year of experience and go into 2020 building on what I did last year. There is no particular thing, I just wish I can be a better all-rounded driver in 2020.

“Squash and boxing are the two things I’m doing the most now. Squash is famous here in the UK, and boxing because to be tired at 180bpm I enjoy having to think and to keep my shoulders up, keep my guard up, combining hard cardio work with things that need to keep me thinking under pressure. I find it is the most similar thing to Formula 1.”

Sainz accepts his potential for the upcoming F1 season will be dictated by how competitive McLaren’s MCL35 is and how it develops across the season, but it isn’t stopping the Spaniard from targeting a return to the podium if the opportunity presents itself.

“I first need to try the car and see what the car is going to allow me to do,” he explained. “In Formula 1 you understand you’re very much dictated by the performance of your car but at the same time this year, McLaren, I like what I’m seeing, I like the project, I like the car.

“When we revealed it today I like how tidy it looks and hopefully it’s a faster car than last year, and hopefully it is a car that is closer to the top teams. I don’t know what I’m going to fight for.

“I’m going to try my best and if there is a podium opportunity I’ll try take it, if there’s an opportunity to finish higher than seventh I’m going to try, but to improve on last year in terms of only positions it’s not going to be easy.”

 

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