Carlos Sainz must hit the ground running at Renault

Bayden Westerweller Roar Guru

By , Bayden Westerweller is a Roar Guru

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    Carlos Sainz has been afforded the opportunity to integrate himself at Renault over the final races of the season, yet the Spaniard should still be expected to contribute towards the constructors’ effort.

    Having signed with the French manufacturer on loan from Red Bull for 2018, Sainz has the next four events to acclimatise to his new environment ahead of a full campaign next season, though Renault undoubtedly has immediate designs on claiming some late scalps.

    “I wouldn’t have minded to finish this season with Toro Rosso but this opportunity gives me a chance to get to know everybody inside the team… to adapt myself to the car and the car to myself”, Sainz said, following nearly three seasons with the Faenza outfit.

    “Hopefully these next four races will help for next year. If I can also help the team score some points that would be amazing.”

    Jolyon Palmer was placed to pasture following the Japanese Grand Prix – the Briton having drawn just eight points to Nico Hulkenberg’s 34, though the outside potential for Renault to claim fifth place lies in the offing should Sainz perform at the German’s level.

    A 14-point advantage over Hulkenberg in the drivers’ standings belies the difficulties associated with a mid-season switch, merely performing near parity would be a reasonable objective.

    The 23-year-old can raise his stock if he’s able to overcome teething issues and grant Renault a major financial boost towards the fierce development race over the coming twelve months.

    Lying just ten points behind the Spaniard’s former employer, and a further fourteen adrift of Williams, a double-points haul would suffice for the Enstone outfit to be within striking distance of a considerable cash injection.

    Despite building a solid portfolio since his debut, Sainz has long been overshadowed by former teammate Max Verstappen, thus an instant impression would also serve to remind many that he’s more than the namesake offspring of a World Rally champion.

    With several big names entering the market in the next 12 months, coinciding with Renault’s anticipated re-emergence as a force, the pressure will be on Sainz to validate the faith placed in him.

    Difficult as it is to fathom that Hulkenberg is yet to grace the podium at the age of 30, this presents the prospect of a competitive rivalry between the pair to achieve the milestone next season as top-five finishes become a realistic proposition. Hopefully, each can draw the best qualities out of the other without spite, as the outfit attempts to create something special.

    Also significant is the notion that Sainz becomes just the fourth Red Bull alumni – including Christian Klien’s brief return with HRT in 2010 – to compete elsewhere, in contrast to being ruthlessly discarded.

    It’s still possible that the senior outfit will wish to repatriate the Spaniard for 2019 should either Verstappen or Daniel Ricciardo move on, so he’s in a unique position of observing the notoriously insular operation as an outsider with inside perspective, which could appeal to the team if they are forced to consider their options.

    Carlos Sainz has been granted the rare privilege of liberation from the birdcage – for the time being at least – though if he wishes to retain control of his fate, the opportunity must be seized immediately, lest he faces representing a placeholder or returning to his puppeteers, whichever shape they’re in.