Despite Team Principal Franz Tost claiming that the team target fifth in the Constructors’ Championship this season, neither of the latest Toro Rosso drivers feel under pressure heading into their debut seasons.
“Everyone is very positive in the team, which gives you a good feeling,” says Sainz. “So at the moment, no nerves. Maybe a bit closer to Melbourne, there will be a bit more nerves, but there’s a lot of concentration and a lot of will to go out on track. At the moment, I think everyone has done a good job to get us fully prepared for the season.”
Max Verstappen – who will become the youngest driver ever to race in Formula 1 when he makes his debut in Melbourne – echoes his team mate’s views.
“Perhaps when the lights come on in Melbourne, there will be more nerves”, he says.
With the FIA introducing a raft of changes to the sport’s superlicense system in reaction to Verstappen’s rapid rise to the series, the 17-year-old says he’s just happy to be competing in F1.
“Of course, it’s not been many years for me – I’m only 17 – but I’ve always wanted to be a Formula 1 driver and now I have the chance to see the car standing there, I can’t wait to go out,” says Verstappen.
“You just have to focus on yourself and be happy that you’re here.”