Sep 18, 2016

Carlos Sainz saves a P14 in Singapore despite racing without electric power

A critical loss of energy and an incident at the start affect his race.

Singapore, September 18th 2016.- Carlos Sainz couldn’t seal the solid job he had done up until today at the Singapore GP. After an excellent P6 in today’s Starting Grid, the Spaniard from Scuderia Toro Rosso suffered a crash in the start that forced him to switch strategies and pit earlier than expected. But the worst was yet to come, as a failure in the MGU-K of his car left him underpowered for much of the race. In the end, fourteenth was the best result available for Carlos in the Marina Bay.

It was a good start, although he had to avoid from the right Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who was slower in the first meters. Unfortunately, Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg had committed to the same racing line. The German’s rear left tyre crashed into Carlos’ front right and broke a piece of his right barge-board.

After noticing that that bit of the car was loose, marshals asked the Toro Rosso to come into the pits to have it removed. That forced Carlos to rush into his first pit-stop in Lap 8, rejoining in the back end of the standings on supersoft tyres. It was necessary to recover and overtake slower cars in order to enjoy his normal race pace. The rhythm was good indeed, but it was a race upwards from that point on.

On Lap 20, Carlos suffered the second problem of the day. The MGU-K of his power unit stopped working and that left him with no electric energy, meaning he had a 160 horse power deficit for over 33 seconds per lap. That compromised his lap-times as well as his recovery possibilities, despite the solid potential showed both on Friday and Saturday.

On Lap 28, Carlos stopped for a second time to change to soft tyres, the hardest available for the weekend. He made them last until Lap 49, when he changed back to used supersofts to race to the end. Despite his efforts, overtaking was impossible due to the lack of power of his car. He still fought to keep the 14th place until the chequered place, a battle more based on honor than on chances of making it to the points.

After the race, Carlos couldn’t hide his disappointment: “At the start we lost some bits and pieces from the right side of our car, that costed us some downforce, but pace was still good. The problem was that after my first-stop I was in traffic and then I had no MGU-K. I did the whole race with only 600 horse power, so it’s easy to imagine how frustrating it is to see how everything goes wrong in a day when it all should have gone well.

The comeback was impossible indeed due to the technical issues. “That’s why I couldn’t attack nor defend myself. It was a two hour race with only 650 horse power, which is what the engine has with no battery. You lose a lot of time per lap. We could have made it to the points even with the broken barge-board, but there’s no way to do so when you are lacking that much power”.

The driver also expressed his views on the touch with Nico Hülkenberg in the start: “I had to avoid Max [Verstappen] and unfortunately there were three more cars that did the same, and no way we could have made it five-way around that turn. The Force India suffered the worst part, then me, but still that’s not what compromised my race”, Carlos said.

“Now we must move over this and think about Malaysia. We won’t let this problem cost us any tenth in Sepang. I hope by then we’ve reached some conclusions regarding the comparison tests we’ve done in the last few races and I hope that we’re as competitive as possible despite our weaknesses”.

As Carlos announced, now Formula One will stay in Asia as it’s time for the Malaysian Grand Prix, which will be held from September 30th to October 2nd. We will follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.