If you listened to our US Grand Prix race review podcast, you’ll know that Paul chose Carlos Sainz as his drive of the race and I couldn’t agree more with him given the Spaniard made his debut with the team last weekend. First time in a new car with a new team and he looked as if he had been there all season and scored points where his predecessor was unable to do so.
Renault’s choice looked to be paying dividends in Austin because if Nico Hulkenberg couldn’t finish in the points due to a DNF, they definitely needed Carlos too and he did. This has Renault’s Alain Prost very happy:
“It’s always a small risk that you take when you change a driver in the middle of the season, but in fact it was exactly what we wanted to have,” Prost told Autosport.
“We had unfortunately a problem with Nico, and we had Carlos to get points.
“If you want to build something, you cannot have a big hole somewhere.
“It’s not being rude with Jolyon, but we are constructors and we need to have everything not perfect, but better, and we know we have a lot to do still.
“We are not going to develop [the car] very much, so we want to have the two drivers doing more or less what they have done.
“I hope we don’t have reliability problems, and get the two in the points in the last three races, if possible.”
If they would have had Nico and the other car finishing in the points consistently, they’d be battling for 5th in the constructor’s championship. As it is, the Sainz deal was an odd situation in allowing Toro Rosso to break their engine supply deal for a Honda contract but the interesting note is that the Carlos Sianz deal isn’t long-term.
“In this situation we don’t have all the keys, but the market is very open next year,” he said.
“There is no reason why we should change, but because we don’t have all in our hands, we have to wait a little bit.
“We are lucky to get Carlos, because we wanted him, but we don’t have him for the long term, so we have to be careful.
“For us, that’s not a problem. We are in a period where we are building, so the timing is OK.
“We want to establish a strong relationship with him.”
Certainly, anything can happen and perhaps Carlos does well in 2018 and the team can work out a deal to keep him. Maybe he gets and offer from Red Bull Racing? The matter at hand, however, is making the most of the 2018 season with Carlos and Nico consistently scoring points and the engine not failing to deliver.
Hat Tip: Autosport