Carlos Sainz’s last race for Toro Rosso at the Japanese Grand Prix ended before a lap was completed, the Spaniard getting it wrong through the Esses, as he tried to make up places, but got on the gravel, tapped the wall and was forced to retire.
Thus the final curtain came down on his career with the Red Bull junior team in the worst possible way.
Sainz said after the race, “In a one-stop race you need to risk at the start and I was trying my best to gain some positions. It didn’t work, I definitely found a lot less grip than I was expecting there, there was a lot of dust and I simply lost the car.”
“There’s no excuse and I say sorry to them [the team] because it’s not the way I wanted to finish, but in life if you want to risk and do something special sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.”
Indeed it was an expensive final weekend for Sainz at Toro Rosso, on Friday he also made a mistake which ended up with a visit to the barriers, bent metal and an array of repairs to his car.
As much as 23 year old Sainz has done for the team, scoring the bulk of their points this season, there is an element within the team that are glad the Spaniard (and his entourage) are departing the team for ‘greener’ pastures.
Renault have decided to ditch under-performing Jolyon Palmer and got the nod from Red Bull to have Sainz drafted into the team for the forthcoming United States Grand Prix and the three remaining races thereafter.
It is an unusual move for team’s to take on a new driver so close to the season end, but the consensus at Renault is that having Sainz acclimatise to the team, in the next four races, gives them a head start for 2018 when he will be with the team full-time.
Sainz acknowledged, “It’s going to be a big challenge to try and adapt to this new car. It’s quite late into the season and it’s going to take some time and to find my way around it. But I’m there to do a job and I’m confident I can do it pretty straight away.”
Interestingly Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas, are in a battle for sixth place in the constructors’ championship where a mere ten points separate the three teams. Sainz’s old team Toro Rosso have 62 points which is ten more than, the Spaniard’s new team, Renault on 42, with Haas splitting the two in the championship table with 43 points.
The difference between sixth and eighth is worth around $10 million in terms of championship prize money paid out to teams at the end of the season.