RS18 launch : Interview with Carlos Sainz, Renault Driver
"Renault is like a big family"
What’s your overall approach to the season ahead?
The general approach is to work harder every day to continue on a positive trend. For sure the main target is to take a step forward, both me as a driver and the whole team. It’s difficult to predict how big that step will be, however, I’m confident as I have been pushing hard during the winter and I know everyone at the factory are giving their very best. I´m convinced this is going to be an exciting season.
How much do you feel part of the team?
Renault is like a big family and I feel very comfortable around everyone in the team. I came to Enstone for the first time in October and since returning in January it looks like a whole new place. There are new people, new machines, new buildings and construction going on. It’s getting really big and you can see people are really pushing to get the team back to the top. Everyone at the factory buys into that, which is the only way to become number one again. As a driver, to see all this is really motivating!
You joined the team late in the 2017 season; how much more is there to come from you?
It was a positive four races with the team last season. Between Nico and myself, we helped the team get that sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship. I think it was worth it and has helped me to prepare better for the upcoming season. Now I go to testing knowing my engineers and mechanics better, gathering more knowledge on the car and being able to adjust more things to my preferences. This way I can focus on finding a strong base line to start the championship on the right foot.
What have you done in the off-season?
In December I enjoyed some rest, spent lots of time with my family and friends and planned the training camps for 2018 with my team. Since 2nd January onwards I returned to a strict training schedule and a corresponding diet to meet the demands of that. Motivation has been at the highest levels since the year started and that really helps during a thorough preparation. I also had the chance to have a go at a stage of the Monte Carlo Rally, in a New Mégane R.S. which was a real bonus!
In visual terms, the biggest change for 2018 will be the halo; what are your thoughts on it?
I think it can be an effective device. As drivers, we will have to adapt to it, 20 laps or so in testing should be enough time. The engineers will see how it affects aerodynamics. I have seen the work done in the wind tunnel back in the factory but now we need to test its behaviour on track. Visually, I don’t think the halo looks too bad once it has been integrated in the car. We will all get used to it and it will be normal fairly quickly.
The pre-season is on home ground in Spain; how are you looking forward to testing?
I´m really looking forward to it. If everything goes to plan, eight days in testing means a lot of laps. There is a lot to learn and many different set-ups to try, which is always challenging and exciting for both drivers and engineers. Nico and I follow similar directions, I see positives from that too.
What are your initial thoughts on the Renault R.S.18?
The design looks really promising. You can tell the guys have been pushing hard and doing their homework on it! There’s a lot of detail and that’s very encouraging to see. I can´t wait to jump into it and start sharing feedback with the team.