Carlos Sainz Jr

Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz

Personal Information

Full Name
Carlos Sainz Vázquez de Castro
Place of Birth
Madrid, Spain
CountrySpain Spain

About Carlos Sainz Jr

Carlos Sainz Jr will compete with Ferrari for the 2024 F1 season, his fourth with the iconic Italian team.

Career Stats


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Full Biography

Carlos Sainz Jr will compete with Ferrari for the 2024 F1 season, his fourth with the iconic Italian team.

Carlos Sainz F1 Career (2015 - Present)

Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso 2015
Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso 2015

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

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

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

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

Given he had departed Red Bull because he believed there were no forthcoming opportunities available in the top team. 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

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 Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-21.

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. 

After an impressive first year with Ferrari, Sainz was unable to follow it up with another great season. 

As teammate Leclerc flourished in the first half of the year, Sainz struggled to adapt to the new generation of cars.

As the season progressed, Sainz started to become more comfortable, but it coincided with Ferrari's downturn in form.

Carlos Sainz celebrates his maiden F1 win at the 2022 British Grand Prix
Carlos Sainz celebrates his maiden F1 win at the 2022 British Grand Prix

Regardless, he was still able to claim his maiden pole position and victory in 2022, ultimately finishing fifth overall in the final standings.

Sainz enjoyed another solid campaign in 2023, and while he was beaten by teammate Leclerc in the standings, finishing seventh, he was the only non-Red Bull driver who won. 

The Spaniard's brilliant, and intelligent, drive at the Singapore Grand Prix prevented a Red Bull whitewash in 2023, and proved he belongs at the front-end of the F1 grid. 

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