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Sainz: No bitterness at Renault snub

NEWS STORY
29/09/2016

It's widely understood that as it looks ahead to its second season back in the sport as a manufacturer, Carlos Sainz, along with Sergio Perez, topped Renault's 'wish list' in terms of drivers.

However, at a very early stage, Red Bull is understood to have told the French team that the Spaniard would not be released from his contract with Toro Rosso.

Speaking in Sepang, Sainz said he fully understood Red Bull's decision.

"For me, it's a honour to see that a manufacturer is interested in me, that they want to know my contractual situation," he told reporters.

"But Red Bull guides your career, they paid five years of my junior career and that is worth millions," he continued. "I understand if they don't want to let me go in the best moment of my career; they invested a lot of money.

"For me, it's an honour to have the interest of a manufacturer," he admitted. "It's an honour to know they want me to develop the car, to create a solid baseline for the future.

"However, my main goal is to fight for the World Championship, if not in 2017, then 2018 and I hope it's with Red Bull, which is my main priority.

"I think I've developed a lot as a driver," he continued, "and that now I have reached the optimum level to try and make another step in my F1 career. I see it very difficult for 2017, but for 2018 I would like to be fighting the drivers that fight for victories. I would like that. It's not a secret that for me the ideal thing would be to see it happening next year, but there are no chances. That won't happen. But both I and Red Bull know that the moment is drawing closer. I think this year has been useful, both for me and my team, to show that I'm ready for when they want me in Red Bull. I'm ready to take that step. I want to be in a winning team fighting for Championship, and if it's not possible to see that in 2017, then 2018.

"The key for next year is that we will enjoy the same Renault engine development as Renault," he said. "It will be tough on the chassis side, but not on the engine. The problem is that this year it was tough with both ends, as our budget is not the biggest and our engine development has been none because we're running a 2015-spec. As the year goes by, Toro Rosso will always be more limited than the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and the richer teams. Formula 1 is a development war.

"I fully trust my team," he insisted. "I know they will build a good chassis for next year. If there were still any doubts about that, Singapore proved that Toro Rosso has maybe the third or the fourth best chassis of the grid. We were lacking lots of top speed, but still qualified sixth just a second behind the second Red Bull. That shows how good this car is in cornering."

In the short term, looking ahead to this weekend's race, he said: "We don't know where we will be this weekend. It's incredible to see how much our position can vary depending on the track we're in. In a place like Spa-Francorchamps or Monza, we didn't make it to Q2 and were three seconds behind the lead. Nevertheless, in the following round, Singapore, we made it to Q3 using a single set of tyres.

"Our performance varies a lot, so I prefer to wait until Friday to see how things are going and then think about the result we can fight for her. It’s not Singapore, but it’s not Spa neither. I'm prepared for a very tight Q3 fight, but although this is not Singapore I don't expect to be 15th neither. If it is the case indeed, I will be worried. The normal thing would be to be among the 12 or 13 faster cars. If it's the case, then it is possible to fight for Q3".

Check out our Thursday gallery from Sepang, here.

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