Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Albert Park, 2019

Renault have ‘done the step we needed three years ago’ – Sainz

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr has praised the progress Renault has made with its new power unit for the 2019 F1 season.

The McLaren driver, who was part of Renault’s works team last year and has used Renault power in four of his five seasons to date, said he can “feel a change” from the new Renault E-Tech 19 power unit. “I feel a step forward, a step in the right direction,” said Sainz.

“I still think we are a bit behind the Ferrari and the Mercedes engines. But it definitely feels like we have something to fight with now, finally.

“I think I’ve done four years in Formula 1. Those four years I’ve been 10kph down in all the straights. So finally to be turning up to Melbourne and being just 2 or 3kph down on the top teams is a really, really encouraging scenario.

“They seem to have clear ideas of how to develop the engine during the year so that’s some positive vibes also. But I would praise Renault in that sense because it finally seems like they’ve done the step that we were needing three years ago.”

Sainz qualified 18th for the first race of the season after being held up by Robert Kubica on his final lap in Q1. He said he lost a few tenths of a second due to a problem with his power unit on his first run.

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2019 Australian Grand Prix qualifying maximum speeds

Pos Driver Car Engine Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes 322.5 (200.4)
2 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari 322.4 (200.3) -0.1
3 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso Honda 322.3 (200.3) -0.2
4 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda 321.3 (199.6) -1.2
5 Carlos Sainz Jnr McLaren Renault 320.8 (199.3) -1.7
6 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari 320.8 (199.3) -1.7
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 320.0 (198.8) -2.5
8 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes 319.7 (198.7) -2.8
9 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 319.6 (198.6) -2.9
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 319.3 (198.4) -3.2
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 319.0 (198.2) -3.5
12 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda 317.8 (197.5) -4.7
13 Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 317.7 (197.4) -4.8
14 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 316.5 (196.7) -6.0
15 Daniel Ricciardo Renault Renault 316.4 (196.6) -6.1
16 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Honda 316.1 (196.4) -6.4
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 316.0 (196.4) -6.5
18 George Russell Williams Mercedes 316.0 (196.4) -6.5
19 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 315.9 (196.3) -6.6
20 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 314.6 (195.5) -7.9

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 12 comments on “Renault have ‘done the step we needed three years ago’ – Sainz”

    1. Well, that’s a nice way to praise them! Not saying he’s wrong, as he says he drove with their engine for four years, so he surely can judge it. Still glad to hear it for Renaults sake and for McLaren too.

    2. Glad they finally have the engine close to where it needs to be.

      And purely based on the speed trap data it seems that Honda has joined them as well.
      Now just keep the PU specifications unchanged for a decade so we don’t waste money, and all 4 can try to optimise from this base.

    3. Yep they found 50bhp said abiteboul. A pity Renault did not survived q1.
      Probably lost the 50bhp somewhere..

    4. MaliceCooper
      16th March 2019, 14:40

      Now we can fight! (for speedtrap bragging rights)

    5. Ironically, three years ago was the one year SAI didn’t drive a REN engine, but a FER instead.

    6. Not that I like him a lot but I wish Alonso would be driving for McLaren to see what he could do in that car. How likely is it for him to return if McLaren shows great form?

      1. I think we might see him pop up for a few testing sessions this season. He’s got to stay race fit for the Indy 500 as well ;)

    7. This speed trap results so another thing, the Ferrari problem. They seem to have put bigger downforce in the car but simultaneously vettel moans for low and medium speed cornering.
      I hope they will find the solution soon.

    8. nonsense its good alonso is gone. a dark cloud followed him where ever he went.

    9. Along with top speeds it would be great to see sector times. In australia the 2nd sector has just two corners and that is where verstappen was most further away with almost 0.4s down to mercedes. The second sector being the engine sector.. In the first and third sector which are more about downforce and less about engine verstappen was about 0.2-0.3s away from mercedes. The second sector is also the shortest (21s) whereas the last sector (32s) is the longest which makes verstappen’s biggest time loss in the shortest engine sector two even more significant.

      Clearly there is a power deficit and with less power you have to run less downforce which also means red bull doesn’t have as much downforce as mercedes in the first and last sector. That being said verstappen was just 0.2 off in the longest last sector although the drs sector must have helped.

    10. Good to see that it looks like Renault may have norrowed the power gap to Merc / Ferrari. A better aero package could be playing a part in McLarens increased speeds as well.
      I think Renault will continue to develop and refine the car, we will see some solid improvements and maybe a ‘shock result’ or two towards the end of the yr.
      But as always we will see.

    11. McLaren also did a step they should have done 3 years ago.
      In fact, they even stepped over the Renault factory team.

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