Red Bull loans Sainz to Renault for 2018

2018 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr will join Renault for the 2018 season, the team has confirmed.

The first move in the driver market for next year will see Sainz leave Toro Rosso and take Jolyon Palmer’s place at the team.

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul described Sainz as “a very promising driver who has been on our radar for some time, especially after his successes in Renault junior formulae.”

“We feel that Nico [Hulkenberg] and Carlos will complement each other on and off track and the combination should help us push forwards on the grid.”

Abiteboul acknowledged Sainz will remain contracted to Red Bull: “I would like to thank Helmut Marko for loaning Carlos to us for this period.”

“We must thank Jolyon for his ongoing hard work with the team and his efforts over the past two seasons,” Abiteboul added. “He is a dedicated driver and we wish him the best in the next steps of his career.”

Sainz said it is an “honour” to be joining a manufacturer team. “I hope to reward Renault’s faith in me with my very best performances on track.”

“This is the start of a very exciting new chapter in my career. I would like to say thank you to Red Bull for all their confidence and support and for allowing me to take this opportunity. Last but not least, I specially want to thank all the people that work in Toro Rosso. They are a fantastic team of professionals and I wish them the best for the future.”

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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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55 comments on “Red Bull loans Sainz to Renault for 2018”

  1. Alright!! I think this is going to be a very strong/interesting pairing of drivers!

  2. Red Bull covering off Danny Rick leaving after 2018?

    If I was Danny Rick id be looking to move for 2018 but with no better drives available his considerable talent will only find fleeting moments to shine.

    Shame both Mercedes and Ferrari are ‘wasting’ a seat on journeymen and has beens. Harsh but true. Who wouldn’t want to see Max & Danny Rick in those seats?

    1. Agreed. I like VB and KR both, but next year already feels like a repeat of this year. Here’s hoping the Renault powered cars can throw more of a wrench in Merc’s and Ferrari’s plans and that the cars can race more closely, if VB and KR can’t come out and best their teammates from the start of the season (anybody expecting that?)

      1. @robbie Considering how Ferrari and team Brackley were 1-2 in 2004 and how team Enstone then got geat the year after….

        long shot, I know

    2. DR will end up at either Ferrari or Merc in 2019 . But I’m also thinking Merc is heading out of F1 by 2021 as a team but will continue in F1 as an engine supplier.

    3. So a driver gets parachuted into a top team with almost no notice. He takes a couple of poles and wins races, but because he fails to beat his team-mate – a triple world champion who has been in the team for years and is regarded as one of the best drivers on the grid… he’s a ‘journeyman’.

      Tough crowd…

    4. You seriously want Max Verstappen or Daniel Ricciardo getting a Number Two seat at Ferrari with the Team Orders “Let Sebastian through, he’s on a better strategy”, “Don’t overtake Sebastian, we need his points”? I’m sorry, I just can’t bear the thought of that!

      1. Where have you heard those team orders? I don’t remember a single Ferrari team order allowing Vettel through this year. I remember Vettel spending 9 laps behind Kimi in China and overtaking on merit.

        But funnily enough, I remember other teams employing team orders, including Mercedes.

        1. Those selective memories… So hard to remember…

          1. Damn spat out a mouthful of coke reading that jureo. Haha.

            Off the top of my head, Tom, Bahrain. Both Kimi and Bottas were told not to hold up their respective team mates.

      2. If Seb doesn’t deliver for Ferrari in 2017/18 they’ll feed him to the wolves .Perfect time to hire DR will be when Seb fails . Ferrari don’t take prisoners, although ,keeping Kimi to satisfy Seb is a turn for the books

  3. Behind Verstappen and Ricciardo, this is definitely the second most exciting driver pairing on the grid. 2 highly regarded drivers who are pushing their cars to the limit, and just waiting for the results that justify their talents (Championship contention for VER/RIC, podiums/race win for HUL/SAI)

    1. Really? Nearly 200 races between them and no podiums to show for it? I agree that they’re a good pairing, but I feel that the partnership will be career ending for one of them if the other beats them.

      1. @ben-n Don’t know if they’re the 2nd most exciting pairing or not, but he stat you brought proves absolutely nothing. in 128 races Hulk has had his team-mates had been on the podium only 4 times(all Perez whom the Hulk has out-qualified and finished more ahead of). No Toro Rosso team-mate of Sainz has had any podiums either and no one holds this against Verstappen for example. Podiums are not a reliable benchmark for drivers in midfield teams who only have a chance of a podium if the top teams trip up once a year

        1. @montreal95 – I can’t disagree with you in terms of the cars they’ve driven not being up to it, but truly exceptional drivers have a knack of getting a result when others can’t. Neither of these two (particularly Hulkenberg) have taken advantage of a wet or incident strewn race to produce a fully memorable result. Hulkenberg’s best race was without question Brazil 2012, which was 5 years ago… and he finished 5th after a mistake. I couldn’t name Carlos Sainz’s standout race.

          I’m not saying these are bad drivers, they’re both consistently very, very good, but not exceptional. This is a factory team without a “headline act”. Ferrari have almost always had someone like Schumacher, Prost or Vettel. Mercedes came back with a bold statement in Schumacher, then replaced him with Lewis Hamilton. Even McLaren in their current state have Alonso. Renault have two drivers with absolutely no success in Formula One (granted… a definite step up from Palmer!).

          Maldonado (2012 Williams), Magnussen (2014 McLaren), Stroll (2017 Williams), Perez (2012 Sauber and 2014/5/6 Force India), Kobayashi (2012 Sauber) and Grosjean (2014 Lotus) are all examples of drivers in only reasonable machinery (no better than Hulkenberg has had) making it onto the podium. All I’m saying is that it’s strange that Hulkenberg is yet to and I think that if he was truly as great as some people like to make out, then he would have had at least one by now.

          1. @ben-n I agree the great drivers get the results that others can’t. I disagree with the assessment that a podium is somehow representative of that. These great results are like sparks that prove that a driver potentially has what it takes to run at the front given the machinery. They don’t have to be podiums. Like Hulk’s pole in Brazil 2010 or his potential victory there in 2012. His best race ever was actually Korea 2013 where he finished fourth and left Alonso in particular extremely impressed. NH also had many exceptional qualifying performances putting the car where it had no business being like the front row in Austria 2016.

            For Sainz these were Spain 2016 and Monaco 2017 where he finished 6th. Only 6th but where higher he was supposed to finish? In front of the RBR’s, Mercs and Ferraris? He did finish in front of Hamilton at Monaco 2017. Both dry races not some crazy wet ones. I’ve certainly noticed and many others too even if you didn’t.

            2012 Williams was a great car let down by its awful drivers. at Spain 2012 it was a front-runner all the time and at more than half the tracks throughout the year on pace only squandered by the erratic drivers. Surely NH never had a car as good as this. You can go through the list of podiums you’d mentioned and see how they’d got it either by strategic gamble, crazy race or some other exceptional circumstances. This list you’d provided proves my point that podiums are not a reliable benchmark of midfield drivers performance. Hell Roberto Moreno was on the podium in Suzuka 1990, so what? To fulfill the example from that era, drivers like PierLuigi Martini, Erik Comas or Christian Fittipaldi would run rings around Moreno on pace and they never got a podium.

            Renault have 2 very promising drivers that will deliver a lot of points and if the car will be good they can fight for wins and podiums even if you doubt it(we all have our opinions). They’d both shown sufficient spark in their careers for Renault to want them. They’re not top 5 in current F1, sure, these are Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo and Verstappen, unless they prove otherwise. But Renault doesn’t need top five in their current position, they aren’t ready to fight for WDC yet in 2018.

            And provided a driver had shown sufficient spark, the front-running teams prefer a consistent good performance over a driver who shows more sparks yet beaten by his team-mate more often than not. How would you justify taking Perez over Hulkenberg for example, when NH had beaten SP in qualy every year and finished ahead more often. Because of 4-0 podiums? The team principals would laugh in your face. They need a driver who would maximize the potential of the car on a consistent basis, not one who would lap the field twice a year(in a front-running car) but would otherwise lose to his team-mate more often than not.

            Verstappen has only 1 podium this year yet he’s been the faster RBR driver more often than not. Again doesn’t podiums don’t prove anything. If you put NH in a car that’s capable of consistent podiums, then given his consitently good form at maximizing car performance he’ll get multiple podiums. Same for CS. But if you give him a car capable of podiums once or twice per year maybe he won’t(again 128 races only 4 podiums his team-mate scored, and even if you only count the 2014-16 vs Perez it’s only 4/3 years=1.33 podiums a year on average). But in a team like that podiums are less important than the consistent points scoring, the 4ths, 5ths, 6ths and 7ths.

            Finally, who will have a better driving lineup than Renault in 2018? Merc, RBR for sure. Maybe Ferrari and Mclaren but it’s debatable. Based on current form I’d put both CS and NH above KR ans Stoffel. FI about the same if they keep current lineup. The rest worse. So at worst they’ll have the joint 5th best lineup, at best 3rd. Not bad for a team that was saved from the brink just 2 years ago.

          2. They’ve both had some very good drives, including the ones you mentioned (Korea ’13, Monaco ’17 etc.) and I’m not saying that I don’t rate them as drivers. I hope that in 5 years time we’re talking about them both as multiple race winners. I totally agree that they could be on podiums regularly given the right car, but I’m also saying that truly great drivers are there without the right car. Take the dog of a Ferrari in 2012 and contrast Alonso’s results to Massa’s.

            Baku this year… Hulkenberg could have been on the podium, but he crashed. To imply that Stroll was lucky to be there is ridiculous; he was one of the only drivers to have a clean weekend.

            I also agree that podiums absolutely aren’t the best way of measuring a driver’s performance, but in Hulkenberg’s case in particular I think it’s starting to look bad for him.

            It’s a very good line-up, but personally I’d take the Force India combo of Perez and Ocon over them.

          3. @montreal95, since you bring up their relative finishing records, Hulkenberg record against Perez was only marginally in his favour – it was 8-7 to him in 2014, 7-6 in 2015 and, in 2016, Perez and Hulkenberg were tied at the end of the year, so I wouldn’t say that he has been that much better than him.

            As for your point about consistently finishing in the points, Perez has actually finished more frequently in the points over the three years that they raced together (it might have been 15-12 in Hulkenberg’s favour in 2014, but in 2015 it was 12-9 in Perez’s favour and 16-14 in Perez’s favour in 2016). In that respect, you could argue that it was actually Perez who was maximizing the potential of the car on a consistent basis more frequently than Hulkenberg.

        2. Except when a driver in midfield team does get a podium it does raise a flag. Like Maldonado in Williams, or a more promising Vettel in STR.

    2. Second most exciting? I doubt any pairing is currently as exciting as 11&31 at FI. But definitely a solid pairing with 2 excellent drivers who are safe pairs of hands and can bring in a good result in favourable circumstances. I cannot see Renault lighting up races as of next year. So, consolidating their position behind FI or fighting FI is where I would see SAI and HUL do for 2018 season

      1. Yeah it would be great if the Renault PU was there for all the drivers who will have one behind them.

  4. Following on from my prediction yesterday, I’m now predicting Verstappen will leave Red Bull for Mercedes in 2019 in exchange for Mercedes power units and Sainz will slot in to Red Bull’s main line up alongside Ricciardo.

    1. Where would that leave BOT/HAM?

      1. Certainly LH has already said he wants to stay at Mercedes (no surprise) and it would be massive news if he wasn’t retained there after 2018, so your prediction would put Max beside LH, and that would be simply awesome.

      2. Hamilton / Verstappen at Mercedes in 2019.

        I thought yesterday that Mercedes would need to wait until 2020 as Verstappen is supposedly tied to Red Bull for the next 2 years, but following the Sainz announcement I’m now expecting Red Bull to let him go a year early to secure Mercedes power units until the regulation change.

        1. It will be end of Hamilton at mercedes, or at F1 if that happens. Look at what happened to vettel at RBR, it’s inevitable. I think Mercedes should get him and let Hamilton decide, it’s time for oldies to move on.

          But the one comes after Hamilton will be of course number 2 until Max move on. Whoever gets Max will be competitive for sure, whoever doesn’t will have problem, like RBR said, unlucky for some.

  5. So it’s Carloans Sainz jr.

    1. +1 A well deserved laugh.

    2. Not that joke Megane

  6. A second driver of the Red Bull stable that goes on towards another team and an indepedent future in F1.
    In other words: next year 6 out of 20 drivers will originate from Toro Rosso after having been picked up by the RBJT. If Verstappen and/or Ricciardo move after 2018, over a third of the grid would be coming through the RBJT/STR.

    This is exactly why all those young drivers want to sign for the Red Bull Junior Team. Because criticized as it may be, it is their best chance to ever graduate to F1.

  7. Renault have got themselves a very, very handy driver line up for 2018.

    1. @geemac Indeed and they leave a lot of option open for their line-up in 2019. It is of course too soon to assess if in the end it will be a good move, but so far it looks very clever.

    2. Yeh but they”ve also got the Sainz family to deal with. Good luck with that Regie !

      1. At least they’re not having to deal with Jos ” still thinks he’s the boss, even though he never was” Verstappen to deal with. That would be really difficult :)

        Of course it’s all just for laughs. Renault would be delighted to get Max irrespective of his father and i’m sure they’re very pleased with Carlos’ signing as well.

  8. Very good driver line up for Renault. Hopefully they can deliver the car for these two to compete. Both have the outright talent to drive at a top team.

  9. Lot of smoke on Renault: Nico & Carlos. What result do they have to show in F1?

    1. @ioledoy Who else would you have suggested they sign ?

    2. @ioledoy Excellent results for both with the cars that they’ve had. Educate yourself a bit about F1.

      1. Excellent? I’ll give you very good, but certainly not excellent.

        Vettel won in a Toro Rosso. Senna almost won in a Toleman. Fisichella won in a terrible Jordan. I could go on… those were excellent results. Hulkenberg and Sainz have produced exactly the results you’d expect from a very good driver in their cars. I am not saying they’re bad drivers, but neither of them have produced a stunning drive and result yet.

        1. @ben-n Yes they have. many great results as I’ve mentioned in the above comment. These all were rain races you’d mentioned. STR was 1st and 4th at Monza 2008 so better than anything NH and CS ever drove. Don’t forget the STR was simply Newey’s Red Bull that year but different engine. Which didn’t matter in the rain. Senna was the all time rain master and moreover it was rain in Monaco(not saying CS and NH are on AS level but almost no one ever was). Fisichella won a freak race that was stopped early and his engine was on fire when he crossed the line.

          Hulkenberg had pole in Brazil 2010. He was leading in 2012 there. He’s been front row in Austria 2016. He finished 4th in Korea 2013 with a Sauber. He’s been beating his team-mates in qualifying every year apart from his rookie year.

          Sainz had compared very well with MV at STR even though MV was slightly ahead. He’s destroying Kvyat there and had got great results like Monaco 2017 finishing ahead of LH.

          These are excellent results with the machinery at their disposal. My above comment stands. Freak race results are not what makes a great driver. Fisichella certainly wasn’t one. Senna’s and Vettel’s consistent great performances in inferior machinery like Vettel’s P4 in China etc etc. And like Senna’s P3 in Great Britain etc etc. Not one podium in a freak race like you seem to think.

          1. @montreal95 – let’s agree to disagree or it’ll get messy :-)

            I certainly think Hulkenberg and Sainz are very, very good drivers, but they’re not in the same league as ‘excellent’ drivers like Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Senna, Prost etc…

            The podiums I refer to are absolutely freak results, but the truly great drivers have a knack of being in the right place at the right time and not blowing it when the opportunity comes. Hulkenberg leading in Brazil ’12 is not a “result”… he made a mistake and couldn’t finish the job. Beating team-mates in qualifying is not a “result”.

            Call it unlucky if you must and these guys I’m sure will be very deserving race winners when the Renault comes good, but until that happens, they’ve achieved nothing in Formula One.

          2. +1 good summary, completely agree with you on that.

            Beside “excellent”, “great” and so on cannot be easily quantified in motorsport… People are still arguing if Hamilton is great, if Alonso is great or if Rosberg can drive a car at all – yet they all are world champions.

          3. My +1 was for @montreal95
            @ben-n following your logic Max Verstappen does not qualify as “great” (whatever that means) either, true or not i dont know but for sure i can tell you many professional F1 (including drivers) disagree with you, that is a quantifiable fact.

          4. @montreal95

            Don’t forget the STR was simply Newey’s Red Bull

            People keep saying it as if it means something. The truth is Newey’s Red Bull was not a good car that year.

          5. @mattds Actually it wasn’t a bad car at all. The Renault engine in the RBR wasn’t reliable. The Ferrari engine in the STR was better and IIRC STR finished above RBR in the WCC or close to it. But RBR had a front row start at Silverstone with Webber for example. So it wasn’t slow either. Besides you’re not replying to the “elephant in the room” of my comment. STR were 1st and 4th in Monza 2008. It’s not like SV won and SB was nowhere. Clearly they had a good car that weekend. A bit like the Force India a year later at Spa and Monza albeit 4 different reasons.

            Just to be clear, I think Vettel is a great driver and his potential for greatness was there for all to see in his time at STR. I just don’t agree that it’s that one single freak results at Monza that made him so, but rather primarily it was all these great consisent excellent performances that he did there. They 4ths and 5ths, not victories but they showed more of his future greatness than a single crazy good result. Even average drivers can have a single perfect race weekend once in a while, but it’s the consistently great level of performance that only great drivers can sustain.

          6. @ben-n I agree with this part “let’s agree to disagree or it’ll get messy :-)”. I also agree that nobody is a great, until they prove themselves to be so. I hadn’t claimed anything different about NH and CS in the above comments either. On this positive note, I’ll call it a day, before I get back to arguing ;)

          7. @montreal95 yeah STR finished above RBR in the WCC, but that was by virtue of Vettel only. Look, you can paint the picture like you want, fact is the “unreliability” of the Renault engine didn’t stop it from running fine in 80% of the races and aside from a single podium the way to describe its performances is probably best summed up as “mediocre”. It ended up seventh in the WCC, while Renault, Toyota and STR had a comparable number of DNF’s (Renault considerably more) but still clearly outperformed RBR. That it had a few notable performances doesn’t make it a good car.

            There is no way you can turn it so that the STR being “simply Newey’s Red Bull” was somehow a positive thing. Even “simply a disguised Toyota” would have meant more that year.

            As for the elephant in the room – the STR probably was a good car that day, but 1 and 4 doesn’t tell the whole story: Vettel almost had an entire second on Bourdais, and Bourdais would likely not have been fourth had a few frontrunners not been caught out by the weather in Q2.

            I would agree that he did more that year than just the win, but the win does deserve to be held in high regard.

  10. I must agree that it’s good the driver market has advanced a notch but I don’t get the excitement about Sainz/Hulkenberg pairing. I had money on Sainz vs Verstappen and I lost and I’ve given up on Hulkenberg. I might regret this but I’m going to bet these two will achieve nothing spectacular even if they do get a competitive car. I believe they’re both professional journeymen and will remain that way during their entire time in F1.

    1. I hasten to add, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as ‘points mean prizes’…

    2. but I don’t get the excitement about Sainz/Hulkenberg pairing

      Oh, I do. It will finally be the end of the Hülkenberg hype, once and for all. Can’t wait.

  11. Just curios, what happens when a driver is loaned?

    In this case??? Redbull get money from Renault?

    Sainz keeps getting the money from Redbull as per his contract ?

    And surely Redbull can call him back after 2018 ? right? Or does Renault have the power to keep extending the deal, if they want to keep Sainz ?

  12. Red Bull is very much in control of things and if not they cry that they are leaving F1. Sainz wanted to drive elsewhere so I guess he got his wish. RBR made him useful.

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