Since the announcement of Mark Webber’s retirement, each driver in the Red Bull Junior Team has been dissected and examined for talent and future potential as the shake up at Toro Rosso and Red Bull begins.
One driver grabbing the headlines and gaining murmurs of approval from the Motorsport community is one young Spaniard, even Fernando Alonso is labelling a ‘Future Star’.
Carlos Sainz Jr was born in Madrid in a country known for its racing pedigree. His connections to Red Bull could, one day, help him to emulate the success of his compatriot, Alonso.
I think we will all agree that he is not ready for Formula 1 just yet; even Carlos himself has said the same. However, at 18, he has plenty of time to prove himself in a number of feeder series and in testing opportunities with both Toro Rosso and Red Bull.
Carlos Sainz Jr proved his worth at the Young Driver Test by outpacing current Formula 1 drivers, some as much as twenty years older than him. Impressive stuff and the list of achievements continue.
This year, I have been following his GP3 career which has comprised of two podiums thus far. My commitments to the coverage of Formula Renault 3.5 have proven to me that, in a faster car with a more powerful engine, he is one man who can push the suffering team of Zeta Corse to a strong points finish.
When looking at young talent, I often look at performance in one category in particular, Formula Renault 2.0. This series can be making or the undoing of a driver as, for the first time, the field becomes truly competitive for a driver, and the rewards very high. As a 2011 winner of the Northern Europe Cup and second overall in the series, Carlos Sainz Jr has immediately ticked one very important box for me.
Any great performances in British F3 can also be signs of future attainment, yet another Motorsport qualification to add to his growing list.
Carlos began competitively karting aged eleven and his seven years since have been impressive. Enjoying the thrill of karting and the buzz it can bring with his World Rally Champion father, the dream immediately became apparent.
At 18, Carlos Sainz Jr has the combination of consistency and raw talent that some drivers double his age can only dream of. Unlike some editions to the ‘Future Stars’ list, his time in Formula 1 will come in a few years, however this is a judgement call I am not remotely worried about making.
With Red Bull by his side and still many years ahead of him, I know I cannot wait until the day we see him rise to the top and at the helm of a Formula 1 car full time.
Carlos Sainz Jr will make it one day. Just you watch.