F1 | Gian Carlo MINARDI “Sainz confirmed he is a top driver. 2020 a crucial year”

With tenth place in Abu Dhabi Carlos Sainz put together his best season in Formula 1 since he began with the colours of Toro Rosso in 2015, racing the final four rounds with Renault’s colours and staying for next season.

With 96 points to his credit, the podium finish in Brazil in the penultimate round of the world championship and finishing in the points 13 times, McLaren’s Spanish driver took sixth place on the drivers’ ladder behind Sebastian Vettel and in front of Pierre Gasly who for more than half the season had his hands on the Red Bull before handing the steering wheel to Albon, starting from Spa-Francorchamps, and “giving” Toro Rosso second place in Interlagos.

This was great progress by the 26 year old from Madrid who, together with the 20 year old debutant Lando Norris, took McLaren-Renault to fourth place on the constructor’s ladder, just behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and taking fifth place in the grands prix in Germany, Hungary and Japan as the best results before the incredible third place in Interlagos and the sixth place in Monaco, France, Great Britain and Russia.

We didn’t only just discover Sainz Jr’s technical worth. He is a driver I have always like and the sixth spot on the drivers’ ladder is the confirmation. We are talking about a very fast, correct and modest driver. He is a top driver and will be in the centre of the drivers’ market next season if McLaren does not hurry up and renew him,” commented Gian Carlo Minardi.

2020 will be a crucial year for the drivers’ market since of the top drivers on Leclerc already had a contract signed beyond that date,” continued the manager from Faenza, “We have seen a good championship that gave us a number of interesting pints for the future with the fiery duel between Verstappen and Leclerc. I like Norris a lot and in his debut season he contributed to McLaren’s rebirth with eleven positive results, as did Albon and Gasly who with the second place in Brazil gave a very strong sign.

In the nine rounds raced with Red Bull the Anglo-Thai rookie “paid” a gap of only eleven points from the Dutchman who won the Brazil Grand Prix with a fourth place to his credit, four fifth places, three sixth places and only one finish outside the points, at Interlagos.

First point for Bhai Tech at Portimao

At Portimao, where the track is featured by a natural rise and fall, Bhai Tech Racing Team experienced a bittersweet racing weekend. The Team scored its first points of the season with the two McLaren MP4 12C, however the Mestrino-based staff is not satisfied with on track performances, so far, even because of many limitations due to turbo engines.

The four drivers, Giorgio Pantano/Rafael Suzuki and Chris Van der Drift/Luiz Razia managed to climb back up the race by chalking up 29 passes, finishing in the top 10 in both races and scoring the first points. The long weekend started on Thursday with a two-hour free practice session during which the staff, directed by the engineer Mr. Roberto Costa, shook down the #65 car which was seriously damaged at Le Castellet, then continued to develop the two McLaren in order to be well prepared for the second race of the International GT Open Championship.

On Saturday afternoon, after qualifying in the ninth and tenth row, the racer from Padua Giorgio Pantano along with the Brazilian driver Rafael Suzuki drove an exciting recovery manoeuvre, jumping up to tenth (seventh in class) and scoring one point, while the two classmates Van der Drift and Razia finished 13th . During Sunday’s race the New-Zealander and Brazilian racing crew jumped up to the ninth position overall, which is the fourth in class. Recovering 10 positions was not enough for the Italo-Brazilian duo, who finished just one step behind the score zone.

We knew it wouldn’t have been easy, as it was our debut in the dry. Due to its features the track at Portimao was an important test bench, as it gave us the opportunity to have a complete picture of our development and the areas where corrective actions have to be performed” says the technical director Roberto Costa “We tested car set-up so many times, trying to get the best balance, making a step forward in the second race. Now we’ll have to make the most of the data gathered from the racing weekend in order to continue to develop the car over the next races, but, most of all, we’ll have to continue to work together with the series’ arrangers to try to solve issues related to car balance and turbo engine, in order to take an equal struggle against rivals”, finished the Brazilian enginee

The Bhai Tech Advanced Vehicle Science Centre- based Team left Algarve aware to be a valid and hard rival, to be able to progress and strive for top positions. Next racing weekend will be held on the German track at Nurburgring on 1st-2nd June 2013.