Its never easy being the second or third generation of a family thats had success in the past, just ask the likes of Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve or Mathius Lauda, and Carlos Sainz Junior is the latest to want to step out of the shadow of a famous racing driver, his father & a past World Rally Champion, Carlos Sainz.
Sainz Jr decided to follow his father into motorsport, but has decided on a different route & destination to his dad. Instead of Rallying, Sainz Jr has picked the open-wheeled scene and currently plies his trade in both the GP3 series and Formula Renault 3.5, and has the backing of the Red Bull family to boot. They obviously see talent in the kid, and having the Red Bull backing can only help progress his career further.
Fresh out of karting, Sainz Jr began his open-wheeled career back in 2010, racing in the Formula BMW Europe series, winning once and finishing fourth in the championship. He also raced as a guest driver in Formula BMW Pacific, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series, and the European F3 Open. He managed podium finishes in them all, but was illegible for points as a guest driver.
He switched his attention to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 full time in 2011, also competing a second campaign in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC series. He finished second (with four wins) in the Eurocup, but claimed his maiden open-wheel Championship in the NEC series, winning ten times in the twenty race series. Again he raced in another series as a guest driver, this time the Formula 3 Euro Series.
A switch to the Carlin set-up for 2012 saw him race regularly in three series, the British Formula 3 series, Formula 3 Euro Series & the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, finishing 6th, 9th & 5th respectively. He won races in British F3 & the European F3 Championship, and scored podiums in the Euroseries. He also competed for Carlin in the Masters of F3 & Macau Grand Prix events during the season.
He was promoted by Red Bull to the GP3 series alongside Russian driver Daniil Kvyat to the MW Arden team, and showed an impressive turn of speed in his debut race before tyre issues affected both him & his teammate. But the pace showed the talent and now Pirelli have altered their tyres so they are more durable for the series, he should show the talent some more.
It was obvious that Red Bull had faith in him when they also allowed Sainz Jr to race for the Zeta Course team in Formula Renault 3.5, and repaid the team’s confidence in him with a debut points finish on the streets of Monte Carlo, a rare achievement. He was also running in the points in the following Spa rounds before accidents and collisions put paid to any decent results. But, like in GP3, the speed is certainly prominent.
There is obviously going to be lots of hype and pressure about drivers with famous parents following in their footsteps, but Carlos Sainz Jr is looking like being one able to cope with the pressure & show off his speed, and make his own name in the sport. He has a decent turn of pace, and the confidence to go far. I expect big things from the Spaniard, especially if he continues on with the Red Bull backing. Formula 1 could certainly be on the cards one day.