Spanish rookie Carlos Sainz insists he is happy to be in the shade of his high-profile Toro Rosso teammate, and fellow rookie Max Verstappen.
Sainz, whose father and namesake is the world rally legend, is making his grand prix debut for Red Bull’s junior team this year as the highly rated reigning champion of Formula Renault 3.5.
But despite his tender age of 20, he is making much smaller waves than his fellow Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, whose debut at the pinnacle of motor sport as a 17-year-old is not only remarkable but also highly controversial.
Adrian Campos, a former F1 driver who now runs teams in several junior series including GP2, thinks Verstappen’s debut “seems crazy and disrespectful to all those drivers who succeeded but are not in F1 like he is”.
“But Raikkonen was a similar case and it worked out great for him,” he is quoted by the Spanish sports daily AS.
The situation is not only ensuring a lot of pressure on Dutchman Verstappen’s shoulders for 2015, but that fellow rookie Sainz’s F1 debut is comparatively shaded.
“It suits me that the media interest centres around Max,” he told the French-language F1i.
“I am confident of doing a good first season after my experience in Formula Renault 3.5 last year. It was absolutely necessary that I put a lot of pressure on myself to win seven races and the championship that convinced Red Bull to take me into F1,” Sainz added.
At the same time, Sainz credits fellow Spaniard and friend Fernando Alonso for his entire F1 career.
“If Fernando had not been world champion in 2005,” he said, “I never would have had the desire to race in F1.”