Sainz confirmed in all-rookie Toro Rosso line-up

2015 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr has been confirmed as Max Verstappen’s team mate at Toro Rosso for 2015.

Sainz, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship this year, has been a member of Red Bull’s junior team since 2012. His father, also called Carlos, is a two-times World Rally Champion.

“Ever since I have been part of Red Bull’s Young Driver Programme this has been my aim and I want to thank Red Bull for putting their faith in me,” said Sainz.

Sainz tested a Red Bull on Tuesday as part of his prize for winning the series, which is part of the World Series by Renault. “I have had a very successful season in World Series by Renault this year and now I am looking forward to taking the step up to Formula One,” he said.

“I tested for a day with Toro Rosso last year and I liked the atmosphere in the team. In the next few months I will be working hard on my preparation, ready to get in the cockpit in Jerez for the first test of next year. It will be nice to make my ‘official’ debut as a Formula One driver in my home country.”

With Sainz paired with fellow rookie Verstappen, this will be the first time Toro Rosso have fielded two drivers who have never started F1 races before.

“We continue the Toro Rosso tradition of providing youngsters from the Red Bull Junior Driver Programme with their first steps in Formula One,” said team principal Franz Tost.

“I have watched Carlos progress through the junior categories, always improving as he moved higher up the ladder, culminating in a well-deserved win in this year’s World Series.

“However, I also remember the day’s testing he did with us at Silverstone in 2013 in the STR8. He really surprised me and his engineers that day, with his mature approach and his speed.”

The most recent teams to field two rookie drivers at the start of the season was Marussia last year, who introduced Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton. Prior to that Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok made their debuts together at HRT in 2010.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Sainz confirmed in all-rookie Toro Rosso line-up”

  1. If Sainz betters Verstappen that would surely drive his stocks for an impeding RedBull seat

  2. Not really a big surprise. Shame for Alex Lynn, but what else could he have done? Winning Formula Renault 3.5 outweighs winning GP3.

    1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      28th November 2014, 22:15

      Not surprising, he was relatively disappointing when he wasn’t driving from the front, maybe he can step up into GP2.

      1. @come-on-kubica GP2 would be a good move for him, as both he and Gasly need to learn overtaking in traffic. He’ll also be in the paddock for any work as an F1 reserve.

        1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
          29th November 2014, 17:19

          GP2 is a good place to hone the skills, especially with the aggression of some drivers. Though DRS may hurt the development. As with F1 people will wait for the DRS zone instead of having a good old fashioned lunge and a ding dong battle.

  3. I have a feeling that Max Verstappen is going to be one huge disappointment. I can’t help but feel that he wasn’t signed with a clear, pragmatic view, but rather somewhat emotional and marketing reasons.

    1. Nothing to do with feelings,
      Check his credentials and compare them for example to Sainz.
      Marketing cannot make that numbers.

      1. I would hardly say that Verstappen has that much of a record to look to though – if you exclude his karting record, he has only got 46 races to his name. By comparison, Sainz Jr has competed in 165 races and multiple series (Formula BMW, Formula 3, Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5).
        Really, Max Verstappen’s career, and a certain amount of his reputation, has been mainly founded on his success in the European Formula 3 series, which makes up the vast bulk of the races he has competed in (32 out of 46).

        I do feel that Biggsy is right and that Red Bull were a little hasty in assessing Verstappen purely on the basis of those Formula 3 results. There was a rumour at the time that Red Bull only offered him the seat because Mercedes had begun talks with Max about setting him up with a long term driver development program, with an eye to moving him up to GP2 in the near future.
        In turn, Red Bull were rumoured to have panicked and, knowing that it was the only way they could beat Mercedes, offered Verstappen the one thing that Mercedes could not offer him, which was an F1 seat. If Red Bull had been the only party negotiating with Verstappen, I am not sure that he would have been promoted to Toro Rosso quite so quickly.

    2. I actually feel that Sainz thinks will have Verstappen beat, but the reverse will turn out to be true and he’ll get shown up by the kid. I don’t rate Sainz especially high.

      1. Nope, it’ll be a one-season only for Sainz IMHO.

  4. The interesting thing for me here is Verstappen said he wanted to have Vergne as a team mate. Now Sainz – who Vergne leapfrogged in the queue for a drive to begin with – will be. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say there’ll be a bit of needle between these two next year.

    1. Might spur Sainz on to be honest.

    2. As always in Toro Rosso, don’t you think? they always know one of them is going to be left out, and their careers end as soon as Toro Rosso fires them. They either get promoted, or fired forever from F1.

    3. @keithcollantine I think you meant “Now Sainz – who Verstappen leapfrogged in the queue…”

      1. @trublu Yes that’s what I meant!

    4. Verstappen is a smart kid. If Vergne beat him, no big deal. If Sainz beats him then something big is going to happen.

    5. Don’t think that’s a big deal, really. Seems pretty logical to want an experienced teammate and a known benchmark for your rookie season.

  5. Congratulations to Carlos. Finally Spain has an F1 driver confirmed for 2015!

    1. Two counting Alonso.

      1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        28th November 2014, 21:33

        But Alonso is not yet confirmed which is what @georgeod was referring to.

  6. Looking forward to Sainz (hopefully) wiping the floor with Verstappen next year. Was hoping for a Sainz/Lynn line-up, but hey ho.

  7. cronyism f1

  8. An all rookie line-up is going to ensure that STR struggle next year.

    Both drivers may well be highly talented but both still have to learn about F1 & as Anthony Davidson has said a bunch of times by not having an experienced driver who STR know they have have measuring stick to compare just how well the drivers are doing.

    It just goes back to the problem i’ve always had with the way STR is run, Everything is done for the young driver program & the main team rather than for the benefit of STR as a team & I don’t feel thats how an F1 team should be run.

    1. I agree with you on the last part. STR is owned by a wealthy man and the team just kind of – “is there” – of course it provides a good opportunity to show what Red Bull Kids (it`s a joke – don`t hit me) have to offer. But then again, like I said before – the team just “is there.” They have some good results and then they have their bad days. Then comes the end of the year and lot`s of talk about “whose gonna drive for them next year” and then the team is there – again.

      But of course if they`ll start pushing the “Big Boys” (read: Red Bull) – they lose their point of existence, in a way.

    2. Not every team has to eventually become a front-runner to be good. I think STR has accomplished much more in these few years than what the team they used to be (Minardi) ever did, even with all the “heritage” it used to have. Minardi was the spawning pool of a world champion in Alonso, and so was STR with Vettel – I think they’re achieving what any of these teams is supposed to, which is giving young drivers a chance to shine with hard work even if they don’t have the financial backing.

  9. This is their first all rookie lineup? What about Ricciardo and Vergene in 2012? And the two Sebs in 2008.

    1. Ricciardo spent some time in the HRT the season before.

      1. And Vettel had the race in Indianapolis with Williams.

        1. With BMW Sauber, not Williams.

          1. D’oh! Cheers @Jaanue :P

        2. @beneverard
          And Seb Vet also did half a season with STR at the end of 2007, replacing SPEED.

  10. Cepsa will be happy.

  11. This is good news. Congrats to Sainz for getting a 2015 seat.
    It’s a pretty exiting line-up Torro Rosso will have next year. Question is how to judge their speed without a known reference. Anyway I really like this line-up, because of the obvious talent. It’s refreshing in a pay-driver world ;)

  12. Curious to see how this one will work out. Verstappen I rate highly as far as speed is concerned, but I can’t ignore the failed moves and broken wings during his first F3 season. I’m afraid he might have a season like Grosjean did in 2012.

    Sainz I think has better awareness on track and showed he can deliver consistent performances, but his races from/in the back last season in FR3.5 weren’t all that, so I’m not sure where I stand on his speed.

    One thing is for sure, some lesser sites have their comment sections flaring up again, so I guess it’ll also be a year of annoyance at fans of one driver, condemning every mistake the other driver makes…

    1. @npf1 Verstappen/Magnussen aggression in traffic is a good comparison, so Max is bound to rustle some feathers in 2015.

      1. *ruffle, not rustle…

  13. how old is he?

    1. He will be 21 next year at some point.

  14. Blind leading the blind? Eh….

  15. Another guy that hasn’t earned the right but that’s only half of it. 2 household names with RBR good brand value and from an F1 perspective 2 fearless malleable drivers which should work ok in F1.

    1. He earned the seat, he won the renault 3.5 like magnussen did last year.

      1. It is one thing for a driver to win a series, and quite another to assess how that driver performed whilst he competed for a title. Giedo van der Garde also won the Formula Renault 3.5 series, and yet people are quick to dismiss him as just another pay driver. Equally, Fernando Alonso only finished 4th in his Formula 3000 campaign, and yet many would say that he is one of the highest performing drivers in the sport right now.

        Max Verstappen has performed well in his first season in Formula 3, but then again da Costa was considered to be something of a revelation in FR3.5 in 2012, where he came 4th despite missing a third of the season. However, when it came to his 2013 campaign and his expected title challenge, he fell back behind Vandoorne and Magnussen and seems to have rapidly fallen out of favour.

        Similarly, whilst Sainz has won the FR3.5 title, Sainz’s junior record is somewhat average – 6th in the British Formula 3 series, 9th in the European Formula 3 series and 10th in GP3 (whilst his team mate, Kvyat, won the series) does not immediately scream out that he is a future hot shot, especially given that many other less experienced or less fancied drivers have beaten him over the years.

      2. Opposition Alex. DAMS always wins, that’s the highlight in FR 3.5.

    2. @peartree This…. I can see the more conservative case for running Ricciardo/Vergne, and Kvyat/Sainz, with Gasly in GP2, Lynn in FR3.5 and Verstappen in whichever one takes his fancy (GP2). But, RBR also have a keen eye on marketing, so Ricciardo/Kvyat, Sainz/Verstappen, with Lynn as F1 reserve and Gasly as the pick for the future.

      It could also be said that Marko has just decided to look a little more for long term potential in the short-medium term…. I’m still thinking that there might be an end game planned for 2017, perhaps with Audi. Ricciardo could swap with Hulkenberg for that Ferrari option, and Kvyat/Verstappen/Gasly fight it out for the other three seats. Ricciardo/Marciello would sound great as a Ferrari line up! What a dream..

  16. Promoting Sainz Jr. to F1 is an excellent choice but they Toro Rosso will definitely struggle next year. The team should’ve retained Vergne alongside Sainz. Verstappen will be woeful next year due to lack of experience and his ridiculously young age. It is a shame as Max will be a star of the future but his promotion to F1 is absurdly premature.

    Having a lineup of novices will not help Toro Rosso in the long term and I really worry for them. In an ideal world JEV would be paired with Ricciardo at Red Bull. He certainly deserves to be in F1 at least. I’m not yet convinced about Kvyat, yes he is fast in qualifying but he fades away in races, where it counts. He will have trouble matching Ricciardo next year.

    All in all, it is going to be interesting to see how these two cope with the demands of F1 without guidance from an experienced driver.

  17. good to see. it should be exciting to see how he and verstappen compare to each other.

  18. The problem for these guys is getting a seat in a few years… The team never keeps drivers very long and with two young drivers at RedBull there may be no openings for quite some time. With the lower part of the grid relying on pay drivers and the top of the grid difficult for newer drivers to secure seats, it makes you wonder if this is the start of a long F1 career or a slippery slope out of favour and the sport.

  19. I don’t like this driver…

  20. I liked the guy when I saw him in GP3, though he didn’t improve much over the year and was overshadowed by Kvyat. But after his Formula Renault 3.5 season I had to take back my words because that was an excellent showing, and I’m hopeful he can show his speed in F1. He’s the right choice I believe, he’s done all junior categories, it’s more Verstappen who could’ve waited longer. There’s no need to hurry him in, he won’t win the title and no seat will be vacant at Red Bull soon (unless they’re afraid Kvyat will under-perform). It would be better to get ready one step at a time in junior cateogories rather than learn everything in front of the F1 paddock.

  21. Sainz and Verstappen will be good at qualifying. During races they will both disappear completely trying to cope with tyre preservation and fuel saving.

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