Carlos Sainz Jr

Carlos Sainz Jr
Full Name: 
Carlos Sainz Vázquez de Castro
Birth Date: 
31 August, 1994
Birth Place: 
Madrid, Spain
Driver Status: 

Carlos Sainz Jr Biography

Carlos Sainz Jr - Scuderia Ferrari F1 Driver

Carlos Sainz Jr Career Overview and Fast Links

  • Career Overview

  • Route to F1

  • F1 Scuderia Toro Rosso (2015, 2016, 2017)

  • F1 Renault (2017, 2018)

  • F1 McLaren (2019, 2020)

  • F1 Ferrari (2022)

  • Fast Facts

Carlos Sainz F1 Career Overview

Carlos Sainz Jr will compete with the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow team in the 2022 F1 World Championship for what will be his second campaign with the iconic Italian team and his eighth in F1 total.

Another driver to reach F1 with racing blood coursing through his DNA, whereas the likes of Mick Schumacher and Nico Rosberg’s route mirrored their World Championship winning fathers, Carlos Sainz Jr’s father - Carlos Sainz - made his name in the World Rally Championship, winning on two occasions.

However, while ‘Junior’ may share his father’s name, his decision to pursue single-seaters has paid off handsomely as he prepares for his first season as a Ferrari driver.

Now one of the most experienced F1 drivers on the grid, while many perceive his 2021 shot with Ferrari as his ‘big break’ it has been achieved through hard graft in the midfield via Scuderia Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren.

To date Sainz [January 2022] has made 140 GP starts with six podiums to his name.


Carlos Sainz - Route to F1

Son of rallying legend Carlos Sainz - a 26-time WRC winner and four-time Dakar Rally winner - the younger Sainz grew up with motorsport rooted firmly within his family tree already.

However, with rising star Fernando Alonso hitting the headlines courtesy of his exploits at the wheel of the Renault during the mid-2000s, it was single-seaters that would form the basis of Sainz’s passion for motorsport, rather than racing on looser surfaces.

He’d go on to enjoy success in karting, finishing second in the Spanish national championship before progressing to Formula BMW for his car racing debut in 2010 in what would prove to be a busy campaign for the budding racer after catching the eye of premier talent scout Helmut Marko, head of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme.

Impressing on guest outings in the Formula BMW Asia-Pacific series, by the time he returned to Europe for his first full season in cars Sainz had been taken under Red Bull’s wing. Competing with Eurointernational, Sainz emerged as the star rookie with a victory at Silverstone and four more podiums, earning him fourth in the standings behind title winner Robin Frijns.

That same year Sainz also took in standalone races in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, European F3 Open and the Formula Renault UK Winter Series.

It was in the latter series that helped form the basis for a successful 2011 campaign with the Finnish Koiranen Motorsport team competing in both the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC (North/Central Europe) and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.

Winning the former with eight victories from 20 races, Sainz would also go on to finish runner-up in the more prestigious Eurocup, once again defeated by Frijns but ahead of future F1 drivers Daniil Kvyat, Will Stevens and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Carlos Sainz - Carlin F3


After making his F3 category debut towards the end of 2011 with a final round outing in the Formula 3 Euro Series and the Macau Grand Prix, Sainz joined Carlin for a dual-campaign in the F3 Euro Series and British F3 Championship, which together formed the 20-round FIA Formula 3 European Championship (which only scored two of the Euro Series’ three races during each eight-round schedule, plus standalone events in Pau and Spa)

In the Euro Series, Sainz was a podium winner from Round 1 at the Hockenheimring but that was as good as it would get for the young Spaniard en route to ninth in the overall standings.

He fared better in the full FIA-sanctioned European standings, scoring a win at Spa (one of the two events that didn’t count towards the Euro Series standings) to end the year in fifth position.

In the UK he notched up five victories but in a highly-competitive season he couldn’t list himself higher than sixth overall.

Carlos Sainz - MW Arden GP3


Making the move to the F1-supporting GP3 Series brought Sainz attention courtesy of his name and his Red Bull association, but also added pressure as being the latest star to come through the Austrian’s firm famed junior ranks.

It appeared to tell with Sainz enduring a troubled campaign in a hotly-contested series that yielded 10 different winners from 16 races. Sainz wasn’t among them, his highlight coming with a pole position at Spa-Francorchamps and two podiums results (Valencia, Hungaroring) on his way to tenth in the overall standings. 

Moreover, he’d watch fellow Red Bull Junior and team-mate at MW Arden - owned by Christian Horner and Mark Webber - Daniil Kvyat win the title to secure his route directly into F1.

Carlos Sainz - DAMS Formula Renault 3.5

Carlos Sainz - DAMS Formula Renault 3.5

Formula Renault 3.5

With his progress stalling, Sainz was shifted over to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series which while perhaps by 2014 not as prestigious as GP2 - the most natural next rung on the motorsport ladder after GP3 - had at least in previous years honed the talents of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo in Red Bull colours.

A smattering of outings in 2013 for the small Zeta Corse team showed some promise, which together with Red Bull’s continued - if warier - support earned him a drive with the more competitive DAMS outfit for a full season tilt in 2014.

It proved to be an inspired combination, Sainz taking control of the championship with wins in Rounds 2 and 3 before steadily ratcheting up the pressure on his rivals with a double win at Spa and at the Nurburgring. A double win during the penultimate round in Paul Ricard secured him the title and a place back in Red Bull’s good books.

It came at just the right time… albeit having looked for a while as though it would come at entirely the wrong time.

Carlos Sainz F1 Career (2015 - Present)

Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso 2015

Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso 2015
Carlos Sainz 2015 F1 Results Overview
Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 Renault
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish7th (USA GP)
-2015 F1 Points18 Points
-2015 F1 Championship Standing15th

With Red Bull’s driver line-up for 2015 thrown into some disarray by the news Sebastian Vettel was on his way to Ferrari, the subsequent reshuffle would subsequently nudge the door open for Sainz.

Indeed, Sainz’s chances looked to have been scuppered by Red Bull’s surprise decision to hand a Toro Rosso drive to Max Verstappen - aged only 16 at the time - after one season of F3 having only been brought into the team’s junior programme in the months previously.

Moreover, Jean-Eric Vergne considered a steady hand that was comparable to Daniel Ricciardo - a triple race winner in 2014 - already in the seat and another Red Bull favourite Alex Lynn having just wrapped up the GP3 Series title, it seemed Sainz would be frozen out of contention.

However, after Red Bull promoted Kvyat over Vergne, the two parties decided to part ways, the Frenchman arguing against the logic of hiring a less experienced driver to race in the ‘A team’. His exit opened up a seat at Toro Rosso and Sainz was given the nod over Lynn.

As such, Toro Rosso came into the year with an entirely fresh line-up and Sainz into direct competition with a little known quantity in Verstappen who despite the buzz surrounding him was still immensely unproven by comparison. However, Sainz’s familiar name belied his own lack of experience as well, which coupled to a car running an underpowered and unreliable Renault power unit presented a difficult starting point for the Spaniard.

Still, he settled nerves with points in his first two races and while the Toro Rosso-Renault was indeed frail, he was a consistent mid-field performer, cracking the top ten on five more occasions. Peaking with a run to seventh in the United States Grand Prix, he also captured headlines with fifth on the grid in his first Spanish Grand Prix.

However, while he was closely matched with Verstappen in qualifying, it was the Dutchman that would prove the more adept racer to end the year a full 22 points ahead of Sainz in the final standings.

Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso 2016

Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso 2016
Carlos Sainz 2016 F1 Results Overview
Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Renault
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish6th (Spanish GP, USA GP, Brazilian GP)
-2016 F1 Points46 Points
-2016 F1 Championship Standing12th

Such was their parity at times, it meant Sainz vs Verstappen was set up to be one of the more engaging inter-team battles for 2016, though this was settled just five rounds into the season when the latter was promoted to Red Bull to replace the out-of-favour Daniil Kvyat, the Russian coming in the other direction to take up the vacant Toro Rosso alongside Sainz.

Despite the ructions around him, Sainz maintained his focus impressively and again set about notching up the digits for Toro Rosso in what was still an inconsistent car with a compromising engine. 

Measured against Kvyat, Sainz earned credits for comfortably having the measure of a driver that had been on the podium in Red Bull machinery that very year, scoring in eight of the first 11 races, including a new personal best result of sixth at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Thereafter the results tailed off but he matched that sixth place with identical results in the United States and Brazil to secure 12th overall.

Carlos Sainz - Renault 2017

Carlos Sainz - Renault 2017
Carlos Sainz 2017 F1 Results Overview
Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 Renault / Renault Sport R.S.17
-Races20 [STR - 16 / Renault - 4]
-Pole Positions0
-Best FinishSTR - 4th [Singapore GP] / Renault - 7th [USA GP]
-2017 F1 Points54 Points
-2007 F1 Championship Standing9th

Entering into his third season with Toro Rosso - once again alongside Kvyat - Sainz stamped his mark further in a more competitive STR12 that was mixed into the upper mid-field in his hands.

Again the points flowers with top ten finishes in nine of the opening 16 races, peaking with a run to fourth position at the Singapore Grand Prix.

It was during this time that rumours were growing that Sainz was dissatisfied at being stuck in a holding pattern at Red Bull and unable to progress his career if he remained under its wing. Indeed, with Verstappen’s promotion prompting yielding excellent results and the team seemingly unlikely to drop multiple race winner Daniel Ricciardo too, though Red Bull was keen to retain Sainz on its books, it was increasingly clear the Spaniard had out-grown Toro Rosso and wasn’t willing to wait much longer.

As such, talk of a switch to Renault for 2018 intensified mid-season before a decision was reached that would see Red Bull ‘loan’ Sainz to the French outfit for the final four events in place of Jolyon Palmer. Finishing seventh on his debut - better than anything Palmer had achieved in the same car - proved the risk was worth taking and Sainz duly penned a contract for the following year.

Carlos Sainz - Renault 2018

Carlos Sainz - Renault 2018
Carlos Sainz 2018 F1 Results Overview
Renault Sport F1 Team R.S.18
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish5th (Azerbaijan GP)
-2018 F1 Points53 Points
-2018 F1 Championship Standing10th

Competing with a full-factory team for the first time, while Renault’s progress had been modest since it returned in full constructor capacity in 2016, its R.S.18 was a significant step forward in competitiveness, albeit mired in a busy mid-field pack that fluctuated results.

Paired with the experienced Nico Hulkenberg, Sainz struggled initially to get the better of the German but steadied some doubts with a fifth place finish during Round 4 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix amid a run of seven top ten results in eight races. 

He continued to tally up the results over the remainder of the year, which coupled to ending the year with only two DNFs crept him into the top ten overall (tenth) for the first time, albeit 16 points behind Hulkenberg in seventh.

Carlos Sainz - McLaren 2019

Carlos Sainz - McLaren 2019
Carlos Sainz 2019 F1 Results Overview
McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish3rd (Brazilian GP)
-2019 F1 Points96 Points
-2019 F1 Championship Standing6th

Given he had departed Red Bull because he believed there were no forthcoming opportunities available in the top teaml. It was ironic then that Ricciardo would be the driver to put his seat at Renault under threat when it was announced mid-season he would defect in a reported big money deal.

With Hulkenberg’s strong 2018 performance making him more likely to retain his drive, Sainz thus looked elsewhere for 2019 and found a competitive home at McLaren, replacing his countryman (and childhood idol) Fernando Alonso.

Even so, his arrival came amid a prolonged period of uncertainty for the successful team, the legacy of a dismal three years using Honda power, only to experience no significant upturn in performance with a switch to Renault engines in 2018. 

However, Sainz and rookie team-mate Lando Norris ultimately represented a refreshed approach for the British squad, with the Spaniard assuming a clear number one status for the first time in his F1 career.

With McLaren bringing a tidy chassis to the fight, one that worked considerably better in tandem with the Renault power unit, Sainz found himself leading a midfield battle that included Renault itself and after a tardy start to the year hit back with a series of top six results mid-season that lifted him up through the standings.

This good form would peak with a third place finish and maiden podium in the Brazilian Grand Prix, which also marked McLaren’s first rostrum since the opening round of the 2014 F1 season. Sainz would end the year sixth in the overall standings. 

Carlos Sainz - McLaren 2020

Carlos Sainz - McLaren 2020
Carlos Sainz 2020 F1 Results Overview
McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish2nd (Italian GP)
-2020 F1 Points105 Points
-2020 F1 Championship Standing6th

Unsurprisingly Sainz’s efforts courted attention over the winter, most notably from Ferrari which had set in motion a plan to replace Sebastian Vettel in its line-up long before the start of the delayed 2020 season got underway. As such, Sainz plans beyond 2021 had been revealed before racing had begun in 2020, with that man Ricciardo coming in to replace him at McLaren.

Despite this, Sainz still had a job to do at McLaren and he duly picked up where he left off from the previous year in what was now an effective fight for third in the standings, the legacy of - ironically - a fall from grace by the Ferrari team he was due to join the following year.

With McLaren locked in battle with Racing Point and Renault, Sainz went head-to-head with their respective lead drivers (Sergio Perez and Ricciardo) for fourth in the standings but would ultimately lose out to his compatriots, ending up sixth.

However, he did add to his podium tally with a fighting drive to second in the Italian Grand Prix, the Spaniard getting fans on the edge of their seats in a topsy-turvy race as he chased down surprise leader Pierre Gasly in the closing stages, finishing right on the AlphaTauri’s tail.


Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-21.
Carlos Sainz 2021 F1 Results Overview
scuderia ferrari sf21
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish2nd (Monaco GP)
-2020 F1 Points164.5 points
-2020 F1 Championship Standing5th

In 2021, Sainz enjoyed his finest season to date with four podium finishes to secure fifth in the drivers' championship.

The underrated Spaniard out-scored his highly-rated teammate across the 22 races as his impressive form alongside Leclerc earned Ferrari third in the constructors' championship.

Sainz proved to the world that he's one of F1's top drivers and given the right machinery, he has the potential to be world champion.

While he still lacks Leclerc's outright pace, his consistency and ability to pick up results should be applauded. 


Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-21.

Carlos Sainz Fast Facts

  • Carlos Sainz [Snr] is regarded as one of the greatest rally drivers of all time during a career spanning 18 years; He won the WRC title twice [1990 and 1992] and was four times runner-up. Sainz Snr has also added to his credentials by winning the gruelling Dakar Rally on four occasions, while he is competing in the inaugural Extreme E Championship

  • He - together with Charles Leclerc - will be part of the youngest ever Ferrari F1 driver line-up in the team’s long history

  • One of the less auspicious records Sainz holds in F1 is the most races in the championship before claiming a podium, coming in his 101st event at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. However, this compares favourably with former team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who started 182 races without standing on the podium.