A serious crash and a solid comeback, highlights of the driver of Toro Rosso in Sochi
Sochi, April 27th 2017.- Carlos Sainz is fully motivated for the Russian Grand Prix. The driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso has already arrived at this city by the Black Sea. He is now looking forward to the fourth round of the calendar, which will be held at the urban circuit of Sochi around the facilitied that held the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The weather forecasts suggests that sun will dominate the sky all through the three days of the event, and Pirelli will bring the ultrasoft, the supersoft and the soft compounds. For Carlos, this will be his third appearance at the Russian Grand Prix. The Spaniard has an extra bit of motivation for this event since it is one of the few tracks where he is yet to score a point as a Formula 1 driver. In 2015, he fought back from P12 to P7 but retired with eight laps to go due to a brake failure. In 2016, he finished twelfth.
Sochi is also the scenario where Carlos suffered the most serious crash of his professional career. In 2015, his car destabilized in Free Practice 3. The car hit the lateral wall and slidded into the barriers in Turn 13 with no steering nor brakes. The front-end of the single-seater slipped into the barriers. Rescue services extracted Carlos from the car and evacuated him to a hospital for an evaluation of his condition, although he stood conscious at all times. The Spaniard would later convince the medical service to prepare a television for him so he could watch the Qualifying session. On Sunday, he returned to the circuit to take part in the race.
Back to the present, Carlos is now ninth in the Drivers’ Championship after finishing eighth in Australia and seventh in China. He retired in Bahrain after a crash. In Russia, the goal will be to get back to the path of the early races and score points once again before the sport returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Carlos expressed his views about the race ahead in his usual Thursday media commitments. "We are really looking forward to this weekend. We didn’t have an easy one in Bahrain and we want to recover and go for it in Russia. For me, it will be like a normal weekend up to Qualifying. Then we will see where we are, add three places to it and then plan Sunday’s race", he explained.
He will lose three positions on the starting grid due to the penalty he received in Bahrain. He is already thinking about recovering them. "There is a penalty and we cannot forget that going into the weekend, but it only makes me want to recover. Hopefully we can do a great start. In Bahrain we recovered five places, we can do the same here because we will need it with the grid penalty. I will be aggressive at the start".
Kerbs have been introduced at Turn 2 by the FIA. Carlos thinks that other solutions could be put into place. "It is a good effort from the FIA to try and penalize that corner, but after what I experienced last year I think we need gravel or something more than just two simple kerbs. In my opinion, if there is a crash, it is easier to leave the track that to keep yourself there. I think we need something extra instead of those huge tarmac areas".
He also mentioned the characteristics of Sochi. "The tarmac is quite peculiar. It is quite easy on the tyres and that makes it a bit trickier to put a lap together when you go for it. There is a long straight and tyres can be cold going into Turn 2, and braking there is not easy. It is one of those challenges. Hopefully we will see in FP1, FP2 and FP3, adapt to it and arrive to Qualifying fully ready for it".
There won’t be any major upgrades for the STR12 for this event, but Carlos trusts in his car. "This year we have a much more balanced car. In previous years, coming to Sochi was always a bit of a question mark about the layout, the long straights, the fuel consumption… But this year so far we have seen the same performance. We were fast in Australia and China, and pretty fast in Bahrain before the failure in Qualifying. I must say I am pretty confident that we have a pretty balanced car that works in every kind of circuit, so we are going for it".
The first Free Practice session for the Russian Grand Prix will start tomorrow Friday at 11:00 local time, 10:00 CET. Free Practice 2 will be held at 15:00, 14:00 CET. As usual, we will follow Carlos closely via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.