He prepares the GP feeling proud of Red Bull's decision to extend his contract
Spielberg, June 30th 2016.- Carlos Sainz is ready to tackle the challenge of the Austrian Grand Prix, held this weekend at the Red Bull Ring. The driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso walked today the 4,326 meters that compose the track together with his engineers in preparation for an event on which weather forecasts look uncertain at this moment. He is determined to be back in the fight for points and retake his best result streak in Formula 1, interrupted two weeks ago in Baku by a mechanical issue.
In his first words to the media, he talked about his contract renewal with Red Bull for the upcoming year, something almost unprecedented considering it's only June and the team tends to wait until the end of the year to announce these decisions. In this case, the team activated an option on Carlos' contract to guarantee him a place in Scuderia Toro Rosso for 2017. "I'm very happy that I've been confirmed this way. It's important for stability and it's something I'm proud of considering how tough is Red Bull's program is. I hope next year we'll take another step forward and that we can keep on fighting for better places", he explained to the Spanish broadcaster Movistar Plus.
"We have improved massively from last year in terms of reliability and performance. Even though we have a 2015-spec Ferrari engine, we keep on fighting against some of the top teams, like McLaren or even Williams in some occasions. The car is good and July is an important month for us because we bring some little updates before summer. With them, the STR11 should be consolidated for the remaining of the year. I hope next year Red Bull's strength will help us a bit, as we'll be working more closely, and we might be further ahead".
Carlos doesn't set any particular goals for the remaining races before summer break, apart from working at his best. "The fifth in the Constructors has faded away a bit with Checo's podium and our double retirement in Baku. It's not impossible, but we'd need a super result before the summer break. We'll keep on trying, of course".
About the Red Bull Ring, Carlos is willing to see how his car behaves. "Here we have many straights but also many fast turns, so it's like having our weaknesses and our strengths together in the same track. Let's see which one plays in our favor. It will be a Grand Prix on which it will be hard to find a compromise in terms of aerodynamics. We're evaluating whether to go fully loaded so we can exploit our performance under braking and cornering or weather it's best to go with very little downforce so we can be stronger in straights".
Track has been resurfaced this year and Carlos has investigated the effect this will have on car's grip and behavior. "I talked about it with some drivers from the DTM and they told me the circuit has changed quite a while. Its surface is grippy. More time flat-out, maybe less downforce needed. Lap times are going to go down by quite a margin. There are no bumps, kerbs are lower too, so overall is like if the track was wider. It will all help cars to be faster. The last two turns are very delicate, but back in 2015 there were two types of asphalt there, now it's the same everywhere. That should help us the drivers".