Carlos Sainz is Certain he’ll be a Regular top six Finisher for 2017

Toro Rosso star Carlos Sainz will almost certainly be driving for the Italian squad next year and is looking forward to the physical challenge that the 2017 regulations will bring.

Sainz has been competitive this season in testament to his own raw talent but also the excellent chassis of the STR11 designed by James Key. Given that both Toro Rosso drivers are stuck with the 2015-spec Ferrari engine, the results and competitiveness of Sainz have been eye-catching.

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The question lies in how much further up the order the young Spaniard can go once he has the 2017-spec Renault power-unit in the back of his car next season? Sainz sounds more than confident of his own abilities ahead of the regulation changes. He said,

“Physically, looking at the corner speeds and lap times we are about to do next year, the human body will be again a limitation, like it was in 2004 and 2005. I could benefit from being a young guy and willing to push in the break to make sure I’m fit for that.

Every driver likes a faster car through corners but some will adapt better than others. I’m confident because I know every time I have stepped up a category, I have been stronger.

So next year, we are stepping up another category and hopefully I’ll be there to capitalize.”

– Carlos Sainz

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 30: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari 060/5 turbo on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 30, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – JULY 30: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari 060/5 turbo on track during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 30, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Sainz has driven very consistently in the previous eight races, scoring on six occasions and sitting well in 11th in the drivers standings. He feels that he has improved considerably from last year.

“Last year there was definitely something going on with the reliability. I was always having DNFs and couldn’t find a consistent platform to work on. This year, this stopped happening and I showed when nothing happens, I can put some strong races and full weekends together.

Maybe this is what last year was not happening due to other factors which weren’t related to me. In Germany, we were running a low downforce configuration and still we were the best of the midfield around the corners.

I know Toro Rosso can produce a good chassis next year and if Renault give us the power it has this year, I can be hopeful. Maybe I’m too optimistic but I am going to prepare based on the fact I’ll be fighting for a top eight or a top six in every race.”

– Carlos Sainz

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There’s every reason to believe that Sainz will take another step forward in 2017. It could prove to be make or break season as the shelf-life of F1 drivers continues to decline.