The Spaniard approaches the remaining races one event at a time as he expects to make the most out of his car
Suzuka, October 6th 2016.- Formula 1 has arrived at Suzuka, home to the Japanese Grand Prix and to one of the most appreciated circuit among drivers in all the world. One of them is Carlos Sainz, who lands at the demanding track with the very same goal that has driven his will in the previous rounds of the Championship: making the most out of his Toro Rosso STR11 and finding every millisecond available.
Last year, Carlos Sainz reached the tenth spot of the grid in Japan and held to it during the race to score a worthy point. His pace was very solid and he fell in love with a circuit filled with many medium and high-speed turns, such as the iconic '8' corners and numerous elevation changes.
For this Grand Prix, Pirelli has selected the three hardest compounds of its P-Zero range: the hard, the medium and the soft, just as in Malaysia. It's the most conservative approach possible, although it's a logic one considering how demanding the Suzuka circuit is on the tyres, especially on lateral loads. But for the very first time, in Toro Rosso there are different tyre allocations between the two cars: Carlos will have three sets of the hard tyres, three of the medium and seven of the soft one, while his teammate Daniil Kvyat will have four hards, two mediums and seven softs.
Today, Carlos completed the track-walk together with his engineers as they analyzed to the very last detail the track that John Hugenholtz designed 54 years ago. Plus, the Spaniard was one of the drivers invited to the FIA Press Conference, where he gave his views regarding this upcoming Grand Prix.
"I have very good memories of Suzuka last year: first time in Japan; first time in this circuit and first in FP1 in the rain. So… yeah. I know the lines, I know that Toro Rosso and myself normally perform pretty well in the rain, so I would welcome it. They say there are chances of rain for Saturday and Sunday and it's good for the show to have mixed conditions. It's something that I might have been expecting for the past five races, it gives us greater chances to score a good result".
"After seeing what happened in Malaysia, we know that there will be places where we will do better and places where we will do worse. Suzuka is a question mark, but we will be there in the fight. We will struggle until we go to another track like Singapore, Monaco or Montmelo", he warned, cautious.
"The aerodynamics have not been an important factor in the loss of performance we've experienced since the German Grand Prix. There have been a series of factors: we went to power-demanding tracks, which were not good for us, and Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda improved their engines. Their teams received those upgrades and we were basically stuck with the same car we had in Australia. The STR11 is very good, but if you don't develop in Formula 1 it looks like you are getting worse. We are just as good as in Australia; it's the others that have improved".
"There's no frustration in the tough end of the season. We know that our performance changes from Grand Prix to Grand Prix, so we take it race by race. In the end, we always try to make the most out of the car every weekend. Singapore was obviously a very big opportunity missed, starting P6, we knew we had the pace to finish at least in the top six, but you cannot keep thinking too much about it".
He also discussed about the possibility that the driver's briefing with Charlie Whiting could be aired on TV. "I think it's a good idea, I think it's a good way to give fans and televisions a chance to see how we really are and to see the tension that's in the air when someone is criticizing someone's maneuver. There might be one or two interesting briefings every five, but there will be some that will be worth it".
Feeling very positive, Carlos talked about the new 2017.
"They will be quicker, so we will need to do a step in our physical condition for next year. Already Malaysia this year we were in qualifying nearly as fast as the lap record because we were almost six seconds faster than last year. And you could already feel it, physically. Next year will be more demanding".
"So, I will welcome it. Also the challenge of driving a faster car is always more difficult, always more selective with drivers", Carlos concluded.