Aug 25, 2016

Carlos Sainz: "Q3 will be difficult in places like Spa, but I'll aim for points just the same"

His main goal, to make the most out of his STR11

Francorchamps, August 25th 2016.- Carlos Sainz has made himself at home at the legendary home of the Belgian GP, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which today welcomed the sport in sunny fashion with warm temperatures that didn’t surpass the 30 degrees mark.
Carlos walked down the seven kilometers that compose this special track in company of his engineers from Scuderia Toro Rosso, with whom he works to prepare the weekend to the last detail. He also had time to greet the fans at the autograph session and to talk to the media attending the event.

The Spaniard explained that he has been thinking about Formula One during the last weeks, despite the fact he has still enjoyed his summer holidays. “For me, it’s impossible to disconnect completely, even while on vacations. I don’t think that’s bad, anyway. I’ve spent time with family and friends, I’ve done sport… A little bit of everything. I also had time to talk to my engineers, even although it wasn’t necessarily about Formula One. I had time to think about the optimum set-up… and even if I partied, I always had these things on my mind”.

The last Grand Prixes highlighted that Toro Rosso is facing a difficult time, as the team is not able to improve the power unit of its STR11 unlike its rivals. But that doesn’t affect Carlos’ motivation. “In Germany we struggled because we met there with our two main weaknesses, which are slow turns and long straights. Plus, the other engines improve race by race and that makes our life harder because we can’t. But that doesn’t mean that we must give up and surrender. We have to make the most out of our car. Scoring points will be our goal. I won’t be talking about P7 or P8, to be P10 will already be a milestone, so let’s go for it”.

As usual, the team’s competitiveness will vary depending of each circuit’s nature. “It’s possible that Germany was the toughest weekend of all, but there will be better tracks and worse tracks, like Spa. Last year Ferrari struggled here, so for us it’s going to be more difficult. But my goal remains the same: to make the most of our car and get the maximum, that’s what I plan to do”.
Fully focused on the weekend, the Spaniard explains the set-up alternatives his team has on hand for this event. “The wing we are on doesn’t really matter, we will still be the slowest ones on the straights. We must decide whether we want to lose a second in the straights and compensate it in the turns or if we want to lose a couple tenths in the straights plus another one in the middle sector. It’s a compromised situation”.

“In tracks like Spa or Monza, Q3 will be tough. Points won’t be quite so, because during a race you can play with your strategy, you can risk and overtake, try to get away with the leading group… But Qualifying is all about a single lap and it’s very difficult to try something different nowadays in Formula One”.

Spa is one of Carlos’ favorite tracks, as he has always enjoyed this scenario. “The circuit itself is spectacular. You race within a forest, you go flat-out most of the time. Eau Rouge is very special, but so is Pouhon, which for me is the nicest turn in the circuit. That, plus the many fast direction changes you experience, make it enjoyable for me as a driver. I think fans enjoy it too”.

Finally, Carlos talked about the halo system, which is still in a test phase. He could run it tomorrow. “I may test the halo tomorrow. I liked the aeroscreen; I didn’t even think it was ugly when I first saw it in the car. The halo is ugly indeed, but if it saves lives that doesn’t matter. It will evolve,, just the way Formula One cars have evolved. First everyone said wings were ugly, but now they’re considered to be a beautiful element. With this, it will be the same story. It may be ugly now, but if it helps to save a couple lives in five or ten years, not just in F1 but in all motorsports, we must make an effort to like it and avoid criticizing it”.

The first Free Practice session for the Belgian GP will commence tomorrow at 10:00 Spanish time. We will follow it live via and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.