The Spaniard will test both today and Wednesday at Circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya
The await is over. 2016 pre-season has begun at 09:00 am with the start of winter testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Just two minutes after the green light, Carlos Sainz has driven for the first time the brand new Toro Rosso STR11, the car that the Faenza-based team has prepared for the new Championship.
With the morning mist still to burn off and temperatures of 13ºC (ambient) and 11ºC (track), Carlos has completed an installation lap without any problems and has got back to the Pit-Lane for his mechanics to check if everything was working fine. These have also been the first kilometers of Toro Rosso with a Ferrari engine since 2013. This engine is the main novelty of the new season, which will start in Australia in 27 days.
Toro Rosso's car is provisionally painted in blue for the first week of testing. Official colors for the STR11 will be revealed on February 29th. Now the team works in the last aesthetic details after spending the whole winter focused in the chassis to adjust it to the Ferrari engine, whose size and cooling needs are different than the Renault used last year.
Carlos' new helmet is in fact definitive: he keeps the same colors and design from last year but adds a couple of touches for 2016: a star in remembrance of Maria de Villota and a picture of a chili pepper, which is Carlos nickname among his friends.
We had the opportunity to talk to Carlos a few minutes before he jumped into the STR11, and this is what he said.
Question: Tomorrow you will debut the new Toro Rosso STR11. How do you feel?
Carlos Sainz: I am very happy. It is an honor to be asked to do the first laps of the STR11, especially after all the hard work that the guys have put in the car in the last few months. It is an honour and I would like to congratulate everyone in the team for their work, from the ones who travel to the tracks to the ones that work back the factory in Faenza. It is always a nice feeling to drive a new car and tomorrow will be even more special, even if we have small issues at the beginning.
Question: What is your goal for the upcoming weeks of testing?
Carlos Sainz: I will have two goals. One, to get to know the car as soon as possible. The other one, to do as many laps as possible. The car is brand new. The engine is different than the one we used in 2015. It is important to get some miles under the belt so we can check that all systems are OK and make sure that we run without reliability issues. In the second week of testing we will have a clearer picture of where we stand, although now testing is very limited and we only have eight days, four for each driver.
Question: What will be different for you in comparison with 2015?
Carlos Sainz: Last year I had very little experience in Formula 1. This will be my second season in the series, something that indeed hadn't happened to me in my professional career before. Previously I had raced in different series each year, or even in more than one competition at the same time. Anyway, the procedures and goals for this new year are different too. I have more experience, so now we will be able to focus on getting to know the car better and faster. It won't be necessary anymore to focus on general aspects, like we had to do in 2015. Data will be important for the team, as there is still some time to do some changes before Australia. 27 days until the lights go off!
Testing will finish at 18:00 local time. Carlossainz.es will inform promptly of the work of the Spaniard and his team at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a full report at the end of each session to sum-up his testing routine. It will also include the quotes of the driver. Plus, on @carlosainzinfo there will be a live coverage of Carlos' work on track.