Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz


After a glittering career in the lower ranks, Carlos Sainz delivered when he joined Formula 1 in 2015. After three years with Toro Rosso and one full season with Renault, Sainz becomes McLaren’s new leading Spaniard in 2019.

Full Name Carlos Sainz Vázquez de Castro
Nationality Spanish
Date of Birth 1st September 1994
First Race 2015 Australian Grand Prix
First Win
Wins 0
Poles 0
Podiums 1
Fastest Laps 0

It was perhaps inevitable that Carlos Sainz, son of the rallying legend, would end up pursuing a career in motorsport. Born in Madrid in 1994, Sainz immediately impressed when he started competing in karting championships aged fourteen. He won the Asia-Pacific KF3 title in 2008 before taking the prestigious Junior Monaco Kart Cup the following year and finishing runner-up in the European KF3 Championship.

After joining the Red Bull junior team, Sainz stepped up to single-seaters in 2010, and immediately impressed, finishing second on his very first appearance in European Formula BMW. He went on to win a race on the second day of the meeting. Even Helmut Marko was impressed with the driver he’d secured onto his books, and the Spaniard raced to fourth overall by the end of the championship. A move to Formula Renault 2.0 followed in 2011, where he beat Daniil Kvyat to the Northern European Cup crown with 26 podiums from 34 races. Formula Three was the next step for Sainz, and he performed admirably, ending the year fifth with five race wins.

A seventh place at the Macau Grand Prix in 2012 was another admirable performance, before Sainz moved onto the F1 support bill in 2013 with a seat at Arden in the GP3 series, alongside his old rival Kvyat. It was Kvyat who took the title, while Sainz’s performance was not as strong. He scored a pole, but was win-less, finishing tenth in the overall standings. Carlos also had some outings in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2013, and stepped into the series full time for 2014. With the DAMS team he took seven wins and won the title ahead of Pierre Gasly and Roberto Mehri.

Sainz had made his first F1 outing with tests for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in 2013, and following another successful outing post-season in 2014, Sainz was announced as a Toro Rosso driver for 2015. Alongside Max Verstappen, Sainz showed his speed and was as impressive as his much talked about team-mate. The Spaniard was lucky to emerge without injury following a huge crash in practice for the Russian Grand Prix, but that was one of few negatives in a solid maiden year. He was re-united with Kvyat in 2016 following Verstappen’s promotion to the main Red Bull team, and he out-scored the Russian by 38 points.

It was a similar story for Sainz in 2017 as he scored the majority of Toro Rosso’s points, with brilliant displays in changeable weather conditions in Shanghai and Singapore. A fourth place finish in Singapore is the best result of his career to date. After persistent rumours, Sainz finally moved to Renault ahead of the U.S. Grand Prix, where he was on par with Nico Hulkenberg from his first weekend at the team. There were a few moments of silliness from Sainz in 2017, though. A race ending crash with Lance Stroll at the pit exit in Bahrain was deemed to be his fault, while his last outing with Toro Rosso ended in the gravel on the first lap.

Sainz started 2018 by being out-qualified and out-raced by team-mate Hulkenberg, but while the German crashed out at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sainz took the team’s equal-best finish of the season with fifth place. Sainz was a frequent points scorer in 2018, with the British Grand Prix, where he was taken out by Romain Grosjean, and the Mexican Grand Prix, where he was out with battery issues, being the only times he failed to finish. While Sainz was a little behind Hulkenberg on pure pace, and trailed him in the final points tally, he nevertheless compared well to one of the most respected midfielders.

It seemed inevitable that Sainz would lose his place at Renault after just one season, despite it not being a reflection of his performances, and his fate was confirmed in August 2018, as the team announced the signing of Daniel Ricciardo for the following season. Sainz remains a member of the Renault family in 2019 as he heads to the Renault-powered McLaren team, where he’ll be partnered with British rookie Lando Norris. Will Sainz establish himself as McLaren’s new leading Spaniard?


YearTeamFinal PositionPoints ScoredWinsPolesPodiums
2015Toro Rosso15th18000
2016Toro Rosso12th46000
2017Toro Rosso / Renault9th54000