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Guest Blog - Carlos Sainz gives an insight into the life of a modern F1 driver

Here on JA on F1 our goal has always been to bring the fans closer to the sport and one of the best ways to do that is to get an insight into what ...

Guest Blog - Carlos Sainz gives an insight into the life of a modern F1 driver

Here on JA on F1 our goal has always been to bring the fans closer to the sport and one of the best ways to do that is to get an insight into what it is like to be a modern Formula 1 driver.

Here, in the first of a series of guest blogs by Carlos Sainz, the 21 year old Toro Rosso driver shares his thoughts on life on the inside of Formula 1 and what he's learned about being an F1 driver.

Carlos Sainz Instagram

Even though I haven’t scored the results I was hoping for so far, everything has more or less gone to plan in my debut season. I’ve been preparing for these days all of my life and many of the people that are around me now, have been with me in all the lower categories. We have known each other for a long time now.

I did have some experience of the Formula 1 paddock before I made my debut in Melbourne as I used to come to the Spanish Grand Prix every year.

I remember waiting for that weekend the whole year. I have some very fun photos from back then like, for example, sitting in a Toyota F1 car when I was only about 10 years old. My father was a very good friend of Team Principal Ove Anderson, who unfortunately isn’t with us anymore. I also remember another time when they didn’t allow me to go to the grid on the Sunday before the race, but all of a sudden Bernie held my hand and took me there, I will never forget that!

Carlos Sainz

Helmut Marko, Franz Tost and my Dad – they told me about how tough this world is and what to expect from it. Before the season started they explained the world championship to me and how the Formula 1 world works. We had a lot of conversations about how Australia would be, but you don’t realise what F1 is like until you’re on the inside.

Even now, Formula 1 is still a very special world and I must say I am enjoying every single minute, especially when I’m in the car, that’s definitely the most enjoyable time of the every weekend, whatever the track and whatever the country.

I travel solo and don’t bring a big entourage around the world, just my trainer so we are really close. He has become a really good friend and we work well as a team, in and out of the track. As well as keeping me in top shape - he’s a triathlete - he has taught me a lot about Formula 1 too.

Carlos Sainz and Sam Village

All of this information is helpful and in the end I try to pick up small things from everyone and use them to improve.

Carlos Sainz

One of the most enjoyable things about being a racing driver is when when all the effort and hard work of the weekend really pays off and you achieve a good result. Then it’s time to share that moment with your team.

You have a good result on Sunday and you get your mechanics, your engineers, PR people and family all together and go for dinner in the centre a city that you never thought you’d be one day - like Melbourne or Montreal.

On the other hand, the amount of mental work that you have to do is the toughest part. It is never ending and you can’t have a five-minute rest and go off and relax as your mind cannot switch off in the paddock. Whenever you’re in the paddock you’re always switched on. It’s very difficult to disconnect – that’s why our break in August was so useful.

We had a camera with me for one full day on the Thursday in Barcelona and the cameraman was completely finished after one day.

Carlos Sainz

On occasions this year I have returned to hotels very tired – something that has never happened to me before. This is because of how many things there are that you need to think about during a normal Thursday in the paddock. There are so many meetings you have with your engineers, the interviews, everybody you meet in the paddock – suddenly when you go back to your room and lie down, you feel like you’re finished.

This is because the attention to detail in F1 is so important – it’s what can really make a difference, one of the keys to success and what really consumes most of your energy.

But F1 is about a lot more – you need to be many things at the same time and it is not easy; you need to be a bit of a politician, a bit of a sportsman and you need to be correct and most importantly, be yourself. This is what I always try to do, I want everyone to get to know the real Carlos.

Carlos Sainz

I feel like I have grown up a lot in the last couple of years. If you’d come to me in 2013 you’d say ‘this guy is totally overly emotional.’ But I’ve managed to become a bit cooler, to leave the typically Latin emotional character to one side and that extra maturity helps you to analyse things from another perspective.

Probably it’s fair to say that my speed was always there, but gaining more experience and the fact that I can now control my emotions both in and out of the car better has definitely helped me become a better driver.

That means you can calm down a bit more and be more mentally driven as a driver – which is important. As the F1 races go by, I can more or less say that I am still improving in that area and that helps.

When people ask me to name my favourite track I always say I enjoy nearly every type of circuit that there is in Europe. Europe is the continent of the old-school tracks where they are pretty amazing. But if I had to choose one of them it would be Spa.

Carlos Sainz Spa

Silverstone is one of my favourites too, but Spa is on a different level as to me it is the circuit of the circuits. I also love it because of the results I’ve had there in the past. Every driver has his favourite track depending on his results and at Spa I’m very happy with them.

I must say I’m pretty happy with the first half of the season, even though I’m not so happy with my points tally. If you look at the performance equivalent to the results, it’s just not fair for the team or for myself. I feel we need a second half of the season where someone gives us back what we lost in the first half, because I think our season so far has been much more positive than the results show.

There have surely been good moments so far this season like, for example, scoring points my first time out in Australia, qualifying in P5 at my home race in Spain, finishing in the top ten after starting from the pits in Monaco, being quick in the wet in FP3 in Austria… But I want to think that the best is yet to come. I will try and continue sending out these small messages to you all to demonstrate my speed and mental approach. I’m sure I can carry on surprising people and show everyone that I have the speed to compete in F1.

Carlos Sainz Barcelona

I cannot wait to go out there in the second half and score those points that I haven’t scored due to reliability problems. But that is something that happens in motor sport and that’s out of your control. I promise all of you that I’m going to keep pushing and give it my 120%.

This is my life and, as you say in English, ‘I’m living the dream’.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams AlphaTauri
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