Carlos Sainz Biography
Born into one of Spain’s most famous racing dynasties as the son and namesake of Carlos Sainz - a two-time World Rally Champion - it was perhaps inevitable Sainz Jnr would follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a career in motorsport.
Inspired by the success of countryman - and future F1 rival - Fernando Alonso, Sainz opted against a career in rallying in favour of pursuing success in single-seaters, quickly gaining recognition beyond his revered name with a series of accolades in karting and junior formula.
Inducted into the Red Bull Junior Driver programme in 2010 at the age of 16, Sainz made steady progress through the open-wheel ranks with stints in Formula BMW, Formula Renault and the European F3 Open, before mounting a modestly successful dual-campaign in both the F3 Euro Series and British F3 Championship in 2012.
Graduating to the GP3 Series in 2013, Sainz struggled to sparkle relative to fellow Red Bull Junior Daniil Kvyat, whose title success preceded his promotion straight into F1. By contrast, Sainz ended the year with just two podiums, prompting Red Bull to syphon him into a Formula Renault 3.5 Series for 2014.
Recognising he’d need a strong campaign to retain Red Bull’s faith and backing, Sainz subsequently delivered with seven wins that earned him a dominant title and with it the opportunity to join Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2015 F1 World Championship season.
Going on to race with Renault and McLaren before landing a dream deal to replace Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari in 2020, Sainz looks to be at the front of the F1 grid.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
2022 - Scuderia Ferrari
5th - 246 points
With the introduction of the series’ radical new technical regulations presenting an opportunity for Ferrari to reassert itself as an F1 superpower, Sainz began the 2022 F1 season at the wheel of the most competitive car of his career.
Though the advantage he’d held over Charles Leclerc in 2021 was challenged over the course of the year, Sainz nonetheless got the chance to establish himself as a regular front runner in F1 for the first time.
Tallying up a series of podiums in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Miami, Monaco and Canada, Sainz’s long wait for a maiden F1 win finally came to an end at the British Grand Prix when he prevailed in a thrilling four-way fight for victory.
However, his results tailed off during the second-half of the year as Ferrari lost touch with the all-conquering Red Bull, Sainz picking up just three more podiums as he was beaten to fourth in the standings by Mercedes’ George Russell.
2021 - Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow
5th - 164.5 points
While Sainz realised a dream upon joining Ferrari for the 2021 F1 World Championship season, his arrival nonetheless came on the back of a dismal slump in form for the Italian outfit.
Having gone the wrong way on development in 2020, the FIA’s technical freeze for 2021 gave Ferrari little chance to make a significant step forward.
Nonetheless, Sainz settled into life as a Ferrari driver quickly, making up for the SF21’s occasionally lacklustre competitiveness by instead focusing on consistency.
It was an approach that paid dividends, Sainz completing all 22 grands prix (failing to score just twice) and notching up four podiums, including the career highlight of a second place finish in Monaco.
Together with his rostrums in Hungary, Russia and Abu Dhabi, Sainz exceeded expectations by ending the year in fifth place overall, ahead of highly-rated team-mate Charles Leclerc.
Carlos Sainz, McLaren MCL35
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
2020 - McLaren F1 Team
6th - 105 points
With his strong 2019 F1 campaign having raised his stock in the paddock, Sainz began the 2020 F1 season in the knowledge that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of it to join Ferrari.
Sparked by confirmation that Sebastian Vettel would leave the Scuderia at the conclusion of the year, it led to Sainz agreeing a deal to replace him months before the COVID delayed season had even begun.
Nevertheless, Sainz ignored any distractions of what was to come, cultivating his campaign on a foundation of solid consistency.
After picking up top six finishes in Austria and on home soil in Catalunya, Sainz’s season peaked at the Italian Grand Prix with his drive to second place at Monza.
In an eventful race, Sainz dodged drama around him to run second in the closing stages behind Pierre Gasly. With both drivers targeting their first F1 wins, Sainz applied pressure on the Frenchman as the flag neared but eventually settled for what remained a career-best result.
Spurring him on to end the year with a strong run of top ten results in each of the final seven races, Sainz concluded his time at McLaren in sixth overall for the second year running.
2019 - McLaren F1 Team
6th - 96 points
Forming one half of an all-new driver line-up alongside rookie Lando Norris, Sainz’s arrival at McLaren marked the start of a competitive new era for the storied British team.
While three failures to score in the opening three rounds weren’t the ideal start for Sainz, thereafter he was a regular contender for points with eight top ten results from the next nine events, among them a pair of top fives in Germany and Hungary.
Returning from the summer break to claim top six finishes in Russia and Japan, Sainz went on to conclude his season on a high by securing his maiden F1 podium in the Brazilian Grand Prix. Running fifth as the race entered the final few laps, he’d benefit from an incident up ahead involving Alex Albon and Lewis Hamilton, with the former being eliminated from the race and the latter receiving a penalty that lifted Sainz to third.
The bumper points haul allowed Sainz to complete the season in a career-best sixth place overall in the standings.
2018 - Renault Sport F1 Team
10th - 53 points
Having received a taste of the Renault package during the final rounds of the 2017 season, Sainz came into the 2018 F1 season - his first in a factory team - eager to prove his credentials in a more competitive car.
While the Renault R.S.18 may not have been the step the French team had hoped for, Sainz was a reliable pair of hands behind the wheel, becoming a regular point-scorer, particularly during the first-half of the year.
He achieved his best result at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with his run to fifth place, while a top six finish in the season-concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix assured him of tenth in the final standings.
Carlos Sainz Jr., Toro Rosso STR12
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
2017 - Scuderia Toro Rosso / Renault Sport F1 Team
9th - 54 points
Sticking with Scuderia Toro Rosso for a third season, Sainz continued to impress in the competitive STR12, picking up several points finishes during the first-half of the year, including a sixth place result at Monaco.
However, despite earning praise from Red Bull bosses, by mid-season Sainz had become disillusioned at the prospect of extending his stay at Toro Rosso beyond 2017 in the hope of one day being promoted to Red Bull Racing.
As such, with no vacancy in the race-winning team immediately forthcoming, Sainz accepted an offer to join Renault for the following season.
However, after achieving a new career-best result of fourth in Singapore, Sainz was approached to join the French team early in place of Jolyon Palmer, the Briton having been dropped with four races of the season remaining.
With Red Bull agreeing to ‘loan’ Sainz to Renault for the final rounds, he marked his debut with a run to seventh in Texas, motivating him on to a final ranking of ninth in the standings.
2016 - Scuderia Toro Rosso
12th - 46 points
A second season with Toro Rosso saw Sainz make a notable step forward in the STR11, achieving eight top ten results during the first-half of the season.
Having come into the year with many tipping a fierce inter-team rivalry between Sainz and Verstappen for Red Bull’s affections, in the end any potential dispute was settled when the Dutchman was called up to replace Daniil Kvyat five rounds into the season.
With Verstappen going on to win on his debut with the team in Spain, Sainz was left to console himself with his own career-best F1 result of sixth place in the same race.
Though Toro Rosso began to lose ground in the development race towards the end of the year, Sainz picked up two more sixth place finishes in the USA and Brazil, while he largely had the measure of Kvyat over the course of the season too.
Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso STR10, leads Carlos Sainz Jr., Toro Rosso STR10
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
2015 - Scuderia Toro Rosso
15th - 18 points
Sainz made his F1 debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2015, the Spaniard receiving an unexpected call up to join Max Verstappen in the Italian team’s line-up after Daniil Kvyat was promoted into Sebastian Vettel’s vacant Red Bull seat.
Beating GP3 Champion Alex Lynn and incumbent Jean-Eric Vergne to the drive, it meant Sainz’s debut not only came with pressure to validate Red Bull’s decision to select him, he’d also need to reclaim some of the spotlight surrounding his much-discussed teenage team-mate Verstappen.
Nevertheless, Sainz quickly made his mark by scoring on his debut in Australia, with his run to ninth at Albert Park proving the first of four top ten results from the opening six races.
While the underpowered and occasionally unreliable Renault-powered STR10 stunted his progress at times, Sainz belied his rookie status to establish himself in the mid-field, going on to crack the points on three more occasions, peaking with a seventh in the USA.
Though out-shined and out-scored by Verstappen, Sainz held his own to end the year with 18 points in 15th overall.
Sainz "laughing in the car" as Mercedes repeated DRS trick in F1 Japanese GP
Sainz "laughing in the car" as Mercedes repeated DRS trick in F1 Japanese GP Sainz "laughing in the car" as Mercedes repeated DRS trick in F1 Japanese GP
Sainz: No regrets after U-turn on failed Ferrari F1 car set-up gamble
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Why Sainz’s Singapore F1 success was not just about DRS genius
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Sainz: Ferrari weaknesses haven't changed despite Singapore F1 win
Sainz: Ferrari weaknesses haven't changed despite Singapore F1 win Sainz: Ferrari weaknesses haven't changed despite Singapore F1 win
Red Bull's rivals expect immediate F1 bounce back at Suzuka
Red Bull's rivals expect immediate F1 bounce back at Suzuka Red Bull's rivals expect immediate F1 bounce back at Suzuka
Ferrari: Sainz gets full credit for Norris DRS tactic in F1 Singapore GP
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The Singapore secrets that helped Sainz end Verstappen's F1 winning streak
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Sainz: "Cheeky" Singapore F1 strategy to keep Norris in DRS was a risk
Sainz: "Cheeky" Singapore F1 strategy to keep Norris in DRS was a risk Sainz: "Cheeky" Singapore F1 strategy to keep Norris in DRS was a risk
Sainz felt "under control" on his way to Singapore F1 victory
Sainz felt "under control" on his way to Singapore F1 victory Sainz felt "under control" on his way to Singapore F1 victory