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Man in the news: How will Carlos Sainz find the step up to Renault F1 team?
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Sep 2017   |  7:01 pm GMT  |  168 comments

The first piece of the jigsaw around the shift of engines and drivers involving McLaren, Honda, Toro Rosso and Renault has fallen into place with the news that Carlos Sainz is believed to have been released by Red Bull to sign for Renault, one of the conditions of the move.

So what does this mean for Sainz and how will he fare against Nico Hulkenberg next season – or sooner if Renault and Toro Rosso can agree terms for their new drivers to get some outings before the end of the season?

Sainz, who turned 23 last week, has spent three years at Toro Rosso making 53 GP starts and in that time has secured 25 points finishes, so roughly 50% of the races and 100 points in total. With the poor reliability of the car in 2016 that is not a bad return. His best race result to date is the four sixth place finishes, which have all come at low speed circuits, Singapore, Hungaroring and Monaco, which may say as much about the engine he’s been using as his driving technique.

He is 9th in the championship, which is the highest for a Toro Rosso driver since Sebastian’ Vettel’s breakthrough 2008 season, when he finished eighth.

His best grid slot is 5th in the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix. He is 7-6 with Kvyat this year in the qualifying comparison and compared favourably with Verstappen in qualifying when they were team mates in 2015.

In this he will be up against a great benchmark in 30 year old Hulkenberg, who has shown this season again that he is a strong qualifier. Hulkenberg’s race performances haven’t always lived up to his qualifying pace and this weekend in Singapore he could well end up with the unwelcome record of being the most experienced F1 driver never to score an F1 podium – 129 Grands Prix.

The move to a manufacturer backed team is positive for Sainz who is desperate to move on in his career and to show what he can do. Renault is on a rising tide with greater investment from the car company. Although the engine has lagged behind the Mercedes and Ferrari units since 2014, the gap continues to narrow and there is every reason to believe that next season Renault will fight in that space behind the top three teams.

“I think we’ve had quite a successful year,” Sainz said in Monza, “We’ve been pushing hard all year to get into the points and the result of that is whenever we finish, we finish in the points, so hopefully we can keep that statistic going.” He didn’t manage to do that in Monza, which became the first race he had finished outside the points in 2017.

When I asked Hulkenberg in Monza what profile of driver he felt would be ideal for Renault alongside him, he said. “I think they just want a good competitive driver package. I’d be happy to race with anyone, alongside anyone. For me, I’m obviously focused on myself and make sure everything is moving in the right direction there with me.”

He did also joke when asked if Sainz was the right man for the job, “23 is too young, sorry!”

The pairing will allow Renault to score plenty of points next season. But Renault is currently in a tight midfield battle in the Constructors’ Championship and the intriguing question is whether they might want to put Sainz in early to try to boost their finishing position.

Currently Renault is 8th on 34 points, with Haas on 35, Toro Rosso on 40 and Williams on 55. While Haas could be beatable, it would not be in Toro Rosso’s interests to facilitate a swap that means they finish 7th instead of 6th in the championship, which would also cost several million in lost prize money.

The rise of Pierre Gasly
Sainz’s move after three years with Toro Rosso, means that there could finally be an F1 seat for 21 year old Frenchman Pierre Gasly. He would join Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean (French but with a Swiss race licence) as one of three French drivers in the 20 man grid. That’s quite a turn around from a few years ago when there was no French driver on the grid.

F1 is still popular in France, with the French GP set to return next season at Paul Ricard, although the TV coverage is exclusively behind a paywall in France on Canal Plus. That deal has just been renewed from 2018-21 and has seen the audience for live F1 races slashed from around 4 million on free to air network TF1 down to around 750,000.

However Canal Plus’ owner Vivendi also owns the C8 free to air station and retransmitted the Monaco GP this year as an experiment, to an audience of just over 1 million.

A year ago Gasly was distraught to learn that Toro Rosso was retaining Daniil Kvyat for the 2017 season, saying he didn’t understand the decision. He was sent to compete in the Super Formula Championship in Japan, where he has won the last two rounds and is in contention for the championship with two further rounds to go, including a double header at Suzuka to finish with.

That last event is on October 21, meaning that he could complete the SF season and make his F1 debut in Mexico, with Brazil and Abu Dhabi to follow.

Or he could race F1 in Malaysia on October 1 and Suzuka the following week, where he has already raced Super Formula this season, then skip Austin to do the Suzuka SF double header. Red Bull tends to like its junior drivers to complete the series that they have invested in, especially in this case with the championship title achievable for Gasly in his current form.

Gasly has extensive F1 experience, having done much of Red Bull’s 2017 tyre development testing for Pirelli last year and has driven a Red Bull F1 car as recently as the Hungary F1 test on August 2 (above), just before the summer shutdown.

The F1 Sporting Rules allow a team to use a maximum of four drivers in a season. If Gasly were to start early but then miss Austin. Red Bull would be able to draft in another driver, provided he qualified for an F1 superlicence at that point.

This is also a consideration for Honda protege Nobuharu Matsushita to get a run out as part of the deal. He would not qualify for a superlicence at present, being short of the 40 quaifying points in three years necessary, but there is a further F2 round at Jerez before the Austin race and then the season finale at the Abu Dhabi GP.

If Honda want to push for Matsushita to race for Toro Rosso in 2018, Red Bull would have to figure out what to do about Gasly and Kvyat.

What do you make of the latest moves in the F1 driver market and of Sainz at Renault? Leave your comments in the section below

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"If Honda want to push for Matsushita to race for Toro Rosso in 2018..."
How much clout do Honda still have in F1?


Sorry Fiat (Ferrari) are a bit bigger. They have been a bit up and down over the last few years.


Sorry, but Ferrari are no longer under FIAT. They are an independent company for some years now.


Not years - try months. Fiat Chrysler only completed the spinoff a few month ago. At the beginning of 2017 Fiat still owned 80% of Ferrari which made them anything but indepandant! Unitl then that is where Fiat found over 12% of their profit.


Well Honda produce around 5 million cars P/A and increasing. They expect to turn over around 129 trillion $ last financial yr with a net profit of around 500 million $. That makes them the biggest manufacturer in the sport.
Also I beleive Liberty are quite keen on keeping them in the game.
So yeah Idé say they carry a fair amount of clout.


*129 trillion Yen


I got the figures from this site it says turn over was 14.5 trillion, I may have got the conversion wrong.


Agreed John, but the problem Honda have in F1 is that also carry a fair amount of doubt.


Think the 129 number should be in yen not dollars!


Could Toro Rosso have a Gasly-Matsushita duo next year? I don't see the point in holding onto Kvyat for a junior team any further. Gasly may not shake the F1 world completely but he seems to have a much more stable pair of hands, and if someone has to step up to RBR if Verstappen or Ricciardo signs somewhere else, I don't think RBR would be too happy to have Kvyat back once again, and Gasly needs F1 experience if Matsushita is forced onto Toro Rosso.


given the complexity of the cars, I just can't see starting two drivers with no F1 experience. You need someone with set-up knowledge to get through a season without getting completely lost technically...


I can't see why they would go for two rookies either, or what makes Honda think that Matsushita is ready for F1, maybe give him a few Fridays?


F1 experience is unquestionably on Kvyat's side, but if Gasly is already thrown in for this year, he would have a foundation to build on in 2018, in addition to a few tests he's already performed. It won't be easy, but a brand new power unit would give a clean sheet to build on for the whole team.

Obviously it would have been smart for Toro Rosso to give him FP drives before like their previous drivers, but weirdly for me they passed on that opportunity.


That's not true at all.
Sainz and Verstappen? Hardly a calamitous failure.


Fair play they did well but during that era it was, apparently, easier for drivers to step up to that gen of F1. A tried and tested driver is also a good marker for where your cars at, as well as set up experience.


No spot for Kubica at Renault then. I was gunning for a fairytale comeback.


Assume, for argument's sake, that Robert Kubica were perfectly healthy. Has anybody succeeded in F1 after so many seasons off? (Tell me, if the answer is 'yes'.)


Kubica must be a sad soul tonight...


No doubt!


He (Robert) might still get a comeback at Williams.


We all were and it would have been fantastic to see, but realistically it was always a long shot.


Jsl, maybe Williams?


SAI has shown ability and ambition and deserves this vertical move. I see him running HUL close and the two of them pushing each other and contributing to a good rate of car development. The attending entry of Gasly into the formula with Toro Rosso is also welcome as is the potential of McLaren's receipt of a better engine. At some point in the not-too-distant future, I would like to see Leclerc also join F1 as he is already likely more deserving than a number currently on the grid.


Could be an Ocon-Perez situation. Young Carlos seems a bit feisty and the Hulk a little arrogant at times. A strong solid pair but maybe(?) some fireworks...


It looks like curtains for Jolyon Palmer. Sad that he couldn't cut it at the very highest level, despite being a GP2 champion.


Palmer never showed anything! Renault gave him a shot and he blew it! He just doesn't have what it takes to make it at this level!


Maybe good Palmer Jr. bails out now anyway, instead of hanging around long enough to beat his old man's F1 record? ;o)


I don't get a couple of things: Why would RB/TR let a capable driver as Sainz is go, unless they get some kind of advantage from it? Unless they've had it with Sainz' attitude towards RB.

- apparently McLaren and Renault want TR to get out of the deal with Renault, so that's in favour of McLaren and in some degree Renault who will be a supplier for a historic name and one of the historical most successful teams.
- TR will get the Honda PU that this year in underpowered and equally unreliable (for some)
- in return they're willing to let their most successful driver of this year so far, go to a direct competitor (maybe even in 2017)?

they above looks like a bad deal to me, unless:
- TR get a huge sponsorship from Honda (I'm sure they will, but as some sources pointed out, it won't be in the region of the 100 mln McLaren is getting from Honda) or a really nice compensation from McLaren
- They've got a very strong believe that Honda will up it's game significantly next year and maybe become the 3rd powerful engine supplier
- RedBull will get the option to get out of their contract early with Renault by 2019 and switch to Honda

otherwise it doesn't make sense. @james, can you shed some insight/light on this?


The over-arching emphasis here is on the attractiveness of F1, and this is an especially sensitive moment for this sport. FIA, whom I believe is the main protagonist in this complex problem-solving exercise (involving teams, drivers and manufacturers) must ensure that any manufacturer (in this case Honda), must not leave F1 - that is the bottom line. Why not? Because of prospective manufacturers who are thinking of getting into the party. And so, how FIA resolves this predicament will have a linear effect on supplier confidence - "What if my PU is not up to standards in my 3rd season? Will I be kicked out of F1? What about all the revenue that I have put into this sport?" Investors need confidence in what they are getting themselves into for all possible scenarios.

With this in mind, no particular outfit is going to fully benefit from the deals that are currently emerging, perhaps some may have a slightly larger slice of the cake. There are too many probabilities and many possible scenarios (of which many contributors in this thread have argued convincingly). Why did TR release Sainz? Why even allow Honda to power TR? Is all the financial support Honda brings to TR a good trade-off for a struggling PU? How do we know if Honda will improve next year? These are all very difficult questions. However what we do know is this - despite all the uncertainties, FIA is adamant that Honda must not leave F1, and it appears that other teams and even manufacturers are at least agreeable on and appears to be working towards this proposed difficult and risky solution.

Just my 2 cents worth.


@2 cents worth. "what if my PU is not up to standards? Will i be kicked out?' If that's the case then you don't deserve any special protection besides they are not being kicked out! It's just the plain fact that nobody buys your fact you have problems giving it away.


RB are loaning Saint to Renault, not giving him away. It's just like in pro soccer.

TR become a works team with Honda engines. Check

Redbull get to close access to Honda, maybe become the Honda works team in a couple years

McLaren get competative engines from Renault.

So what does Renault get out of all of this? TR has to default on their contract, so that's technically money out of Renault's pocket. Renault also faces the prospect of potentially losing RB. I don't the the Enstone team fancies facing a factory backed RB team....we've seen what they can do.

Sainz to Renault is the only thing that makes sense to give Renault something out of this deal. The Renault engine is the core of the issue here, and without the Sainz deal, Renault would get absolutely nothing out of the deal (aside from supplying McLaren, which gives the Maccas decent shot of beating Renault regularly)


it has to be b) and c) doesn't it?


Simply, Red Bull get first shout at a works engine when (or if) Honda get their act together. If I were Red Bull I'd be very happy at how this is turning out.


The problem with that is if Honda get the engine sorted it would inevitably lead to them entering their own team. Just like all the other manufacturers.


Yes, Red Bull is salivating at becoming a works team.


Actually this makes sense. STR is the Red Bulll junior team . Using them as a test bed will give RBR vital info on Honda . RBR want to be champions again and to be champions you need to be a works team. D
on't forget Red Bull Racing are based in Milton Keynes where Honda's F1 engine programme also has a base. This will mean an easier access of communication between the chassis factory and the engine designer and better chassis-PU integration because RBR personnel would not have far to travel to check regularly Honda is doing what it should.
f doesn't work RBR will not go with Honda. Honda are not as far off Renault as people think and certainly i've seen more progress from Honda power wise in 2017 than Renault . If Red Bull can help Honda solve ERS deployment issues Honda will be right with Renault. Also the Renault deal for McLaren should not be viewed as good news for Alonso-he will be driving a car with a customer engine which I think is completely hopeless in regard to being WDC/WCCs. McLaren by joining Renault will just become 'another Williams' -solid points scoring midfielders. Renault's priority engine wise for 2018is for their factory team at Enstone not McLaren or RBR.


yeah I dont understand either how Sainz become part of the deal of ruin TR team getting honda instead of renault and losing a good driver who is still under contract, I mean, how why?

its not like TR was looking to get a honda engine so badly and to do that need to resign the contract with renault ... I though it was the other way, renault trying to get rid of TR to go with MCL.... and Honda desperatly looking to sign with another team, how is that TR will lose Sainz and get Matsuwho imposed....

I'm glad Sainz will find his way out of TR of course, because he needs to keep growing and that doesnt look posible now with TR, so I agree Sainz look for change to renault... but for me TR is in a lose/lose situation hahaha...


Renault want Sainz.
TR(RB) want Honda so they will release Sainz to Renault in order to get out of the Renault PU contract.
Mclaren wants anything but Honda.
Everyone gets what they want aside from Honda; and maybe at this point, Honda wants out of Mclaren, too.


I know, I cant understand why TR wants Honda... I though it was Honda (or somesort of) desperately looking a team to stay in F1.


Agreed, all signs point towards that Force India extend both their drivers for next year, so very limited options for Sainz to find reasonable alternatives to his TR seat.


My bet would be RBR hold the trump cards. McClaren are the desperate ones in any deal and most likely will lose out no matter what. RBR will probably let CS go to Renault with the clause being if RBR retains Renault and TR return to Renault in 2019, then CS is obligated to come back too or face a big $ payout to stay with the Renault factory team in such a scenario = RBR win.
But if the Honda engine shows big improvement in TR in 2018, RBR will be doing all possible to become the factory backed RBR Honda team in 2019. Goodbye Renault and goodbye CS. Again RBR wins, and they have nothing to lose by allowing Honda to power TR in 2018, so they can evaluate it.
McClaren is in a catch 22...the Renault engine in 2018 will no doubt be better than the Honda of 2017 and give them more WCC points. So they will have some in their own team arguing to stick with being customer Renault team. They will be split, and divided means conquered as far as these deals go. They have already embarrassed and angered Honda, so it's pretty unlikely that relationship can be renewed after a split. Especially with RBR chasing Honda in the event of a better engine in 2018.
RBR has enough driver talent in its stable to risk losing CS while they evaluate and get a chance at factory backing 2019.


Those last two points are exactly it - Now that Renault have a factory tam again RBR has to play second fiddle, but if they switch to Honda for 2019 they will become a de facto works team again, just as they were during their championship winning years.

That is of course if Honda can get it together...


On top of that, i think Mario Illien now working with Honda would be giving Red Bull some confidence that they have reached their low point and Illien will do what he did to the Renault (Tag) engine to improve the performance.
I think this is a slow burn for Red Bull, but it may just turn out to be a masterstroke!


We read now that RB will be sold to Porsche for 2021, with a new Porsche engine but the rest of the team as now. Doesn't sound as if they really believe that Honda will come up with the goods, does it ?


@ Grabyrdy...What this latest rumour suggest to me is 'options' for the future, something that has been sadly lacking for too long. Red Bull have had to endure four years in the wilderness and we've been denied seeing real racing for at least three and a half years. It need not have been so. .


Funny that.. just as Toro Rosso Honda is about to be announced with all the speculation on what that means long term..


My 2 cents worth would be that RB have got a pretty good each-way bet going -that ultimately gets Mateschitz out of F1 (as an owner) with a massive return on his investment.
-see how Honda plays out at TR whilst courting Porsche
-if Honda gets it all together (totally) -convert both teams to Honda power and sell both teams to Honda
-if Honda does a fair job -use the competitive tension between Honda and Porsche to get a great deal from Porsche and sell the main team to Porsche,
-sell TR to Honda
If Honda continues to struggle -sell both teams to Porsche.

In all eventualities, stay on as a major sponsor to maintain the brand name without all of the expense!

How am i doing?


"Honda would be giving Red Bull some confidence that they have reached their low point"

Good point, but personally I think that's the only confidence that Honda could give and I shudder to think how bad they could be if you're wrong 🙂


I think there is little to chose betweens a Toro Rosso Renault and a Renault Renault so I don't see it as a step up but Sainz's options were limited by the Red Bull corporate strategy dept. Whether it is a step up from a Toro Rosso Honda we will have to wait and see. As for McLaren I don't much care for the unceremoneous way that they deposed Ron Dennis and bought in lesser mortals to run the team. Ron was probably right about needing a works engine deal and he paid the price for believing what most of us believed about Honda being able to deliver in three years. If Honda do deliver next year the irony will not be lost on me for one and maybe Ron for another!


Renault is just getting things built back up with this year. As they build infrastructure and add staff. They will move back up the grid the way most manufacturers do. Renault has much better growth potential in the next 3 years than staying at TR for 6 years. That would be a career killer. Sainz has alot of potential and can learn and grow with a good teammate. Hulk and Sainz would be relatively equal to Ocon and Perez in quality imo.


If Honda, If Honda, when will the excuses end. They have had 3 years to build a reliable power unit, and they have not. They may get it right, eventually, but when. If they do so next year, they would have had almost 6 years to get it right, only for the formula to change in 2021.

Mclaren are clearly tired of their excuses and who can blame them. I don't. Even an unreliable renault power unit is a better option for them at this point.


Where would McLaren be if they would've stuck with Mercedes power? What a disastrous 3 years!


Probably somewhere above Force Inda and biting Red Bull. But no way would they be a threat to the works team. Mercedes would never allow it.


How long has Renault had to make a competitive and reliable PU? Far longer than Honda. At least Honda is showing improvement race by race this year. There's no reason to not expect that to continue for some time.


Alons will be at Mclaren so really unlikely the engine will come through 😂


I'll bet Gasly can't wait to get his hands on the Honda engine, and also that Sainz is praying for better reliability from the No 2 Renault.

Francesco Zargani

I thought Romain was Swiss driving with a French license.....


Grosjean holds dual French-Swiss nationality. He's not just racing under a French licence.


He was born in Geneva, but has both a Swiss and French passport.


Yup, GRO was born in Geneva, Switzerland.


James I think the fact Hulkenberg's race performances haven not lived up to his qualifying performance are probably because Nico has probably put the Renault in places where it shouldn't really be in qualifying this year at a couple of races and the race performance is more down to the true potential of the car.

As for the the other person affected by this who I don't believe you mentioned in the article by name (Jolyon Palmer ) Jo has had a fair chance of 1.5 seasons roughly in F1 and I know he's had a few more reliability issues compared to Nico this year but and I say this with no pleasure at all being British myself Jo really hasn't grasped his opportunity in F1 - he has allowed Hulkenberg to thrash him this season for the most part (except notably Spa weekend and the Austria race) and applied very little pressure to Nico's position as Renault team leader which he pretty much assumed the moment he walked through the Enstone factory door.

As Martin Brundle quite rightly often points out we expect excellence at F1 level and there are no excuses or places to hide .

Sadly Jolyon's performances in his entire F1 career in fact even going back to 2016 have been far from excellent and utterly abysmal in Some cases . Jolyon will do well in Sportscars or some other racing series but he is just not F1 material as nice as he seems as human being.

Sainz will give Hulkenberg a challenge and put him under pressure Just like Perez did during their time as team mates at Force India-pressure which Nico sometimes buckled under at big moments. That challenge to Hulk was sadly missing from Palmer.

The new Renault Sainz-Hulk partnership will be a defining moment for both drivers careers as whoever loses the battle is destined to be an also-ran for the rest of their F1 career in my opinion.


Agreed. This new pairing will be a career defining moment as Renault gets more competitive. I am agreed with James that Hulk is a great qualifier and goes backwards a bit during races. Hulk is on the eve of setting the unenviable record of the most number of races without a podium. It is difficult to fault him this year but during their years together at FIndia Sergio Perez managed to grab a few podiums when the opportunity presented itself. It's now or never for Hulk - and a great opportunity for Sainz ti shine.


I think the Hulk vs Sainz battle will make Perez vs Ocon look like a pillow fight


Sadly, you're right about Jolyon Palmer. His car reliability issues began during pre-season testing in February, and he never realy recovered. Particularly gutting was the car's failure on the parade lap at Silverstone. He obviously cleared his head during the summer break, and was a revelation at Spa, looking likely to out-qualify Hulkenberg until yet another failure in Q3. As for the spat with Alonso at Monza, by the time Palmer pitted to take his penalty and change tyres, he was about six seconds ahead of the McLaren, which tells you all you need to know about the Honda PU.

Tornillo Amarillo

Carlos Sainz is believed to have been released by Red Bull to sign for Renault

Credit to my "FREE SAINZ" campaign, ha-ha!

After some Hamilton-Vettel-Hamilton saga, Sainz is maybe th next champion of the new generation. Go for it!

Tornillo Amarillo

WARNING to Max: Sainz is Free!


I think Max should concentrate on beating Ricciardo first before he worries about anyone else 😉

Tornillo Amarillo

However, it would be funny watching Sainz beaten Max DISREGARDING what happens with Ric. I think is possible, Sainz beating Max is painful for Max per se...


He's already done theory!


"In theory" - Another way to say "yet to be proven" 🙂

Sure he's had a several more retirements (some of his own making I think), but that doesn't account for the points deficit.


That totally accounts for the deficit. He had only one retirement "of his own" btw. 4 x technical troubles + 2 times crashes by stupid actions from other drivers.


That does account for the points deficit. Verstappen has been a real threath to all drivers on track.


"Verstappen has been a real threath to all drivers on track"

Agreed...just not necessarily the same way 😉


Exactly Rando, exactly!


Oh, the upper midfield in 2018! The WCC will be hot!
Force India, McLaren, Renault, Williams all together, and Haas maybe close sometimes.
McLaren-Renault with Alonso could be fighting for P3 with Red Bull.
Perez and Ocon are the best scorers, and then Sainz (36 points) and Hulk (34 points). So with the same points scored this year, at this moment Renault could be P5, that's why I think Sainz will be in Malaysia this year at Renault to leapfrog 3 teams in the standings...
So, for Williams next year it will be important to have a good scorer alongside Stroll... I think Massa wouldn't be enough next year for leading the lineup, but Perez would be ideal, he scores and he has sponsors with deep pockets. And the next car from Williams could be a nice one being already Paddy Lowe there and having a Merc PU too, very interesting.


Wow! how exciting? i can't wait to see who finshes sixth in next year's WCC.
Actually, i'd be more interested in seeing a team that wasn't Mercedes win it.

Tornillo Amarillo

Mercedes is not "upper midfield"... Sorry don't get you.


Sainz has been a solid achiever at TR, he's no shining start like Max but he's capable of delivering strong results.

With the Ferrari and Merc seats being occupied for the foreseeable future it's unlikely that either Max or Dan will be moving on soon so there's a roadblock for Sainz being in a RB there.

The potential threat from Gasly (possibly replacing Kyvaat regardless for next season) in the TR meant now was the perfect time to join Renault.

It's difficult to imagine who's going to better between The Hulk and Sainz but either way Renault have a strong line up for next season.


What great things did Max do at TR? I don't recall any stand out drives by him?


Autosport Awards 2015: Max Verstappen named Rookie of the Year.


Hungary 2015 and USA 2015 - also do remember that he was just 18 years old


Well he did set up an overtake off the track in Spa that one time, which everyone wet their pants over...


All adds up to Mercedes finally say bye bye to Honda and saying welcome to Renault engines. Alonso stays
Mclaren might even build their own engines if the cost comes down. When the new era of F1 comes in.
Sainz finally says far well & gets away from T R.
Red Bull get to use Toro Rosso as a Honda test bed.
Then if all goes well Red Bull Honda...(but this may go the way of Mclaren Honda 👇).
And finally ...Alonso can stop being "Eggy" on the radio shouting "It's A Yoke It's a Yoke No Power !! Palmer KARMA Arghhh !" 😄😄😄😄


Good move for Sainz. Hulkenberg will have to raise his game or he will be out qualified and out raced. I feel a little sorry for Palmer, he hasn't had much luck, especially with reliability, but then I suppose he hasn't really shone when he has been running. I hope Alonso's verbal mugging over the radio at Monza didn't influence Renault's decision. Alonso is high(ish) on my list of great drivers but he doesn't register on my list of great people!


There is something I do not understand:

Sainz gets... a seat at Renault which he seems to want.
McLaren gets Renault engines, which they seem to want.
Renault gets two things: a driver they seem to want (Sainz) and keep being supplier of 4 F1 teams.
Honda gets.... I am not so sure, but it seems that at least they get an escape way to Toro Rosso where much less people will be paying attention compared to McLaren.

What I do not get is what is Toro Rosso getting in this complex deal. They part with a driver in which they invested in the past and they get unreliable Honda engines instead of the uprising Renault engines.

Any insight?


It makes in the context of TR being up for sale, and that might be easier with a Honda support deal, even easier If Honda want to buy the team.

Alternatively Honda starts to work and Red Bull have an opening for getting on the bandwagon with a Honda works deal. Either would please the owners especially as that last possibility doesn't preclude the later sale of TR.


This. Joe Saward has put forward the idea of Red Bull looking to sell TR, then start winding down involvement in it's F1 team (in a few years time). If they can become Honda's works partner for 2018-19 if the engine is up to scratch then, possibly a team buyout by Honda after that. Then with Red Bull being main sponsor for a few years before leaving (or just continuing with just a title sponsor deal, and Honda running the technical operation)


A big bucket full of cash from Honda?


Makes sense all round. Sainz wants a move, and clearly isn't getting into the top team anytime soon, Renault want another quick young driver, McLaren get the engine they want, Honda get to stay in the sport and Red Bull get to monitor the Honda unit without taking the plunge themselves.


What of Honda don't want to stay in?

Then it is Liberty(Ross) asking STR to keep Honda in F1...for what reward from Liberty?


Sebee. Honda clearly want to stay in, or they would be out.


Is Red Bull actually letting him out of his contract?

Or are they just letting Renault use him for a year or two ?


For the RB structure I think would be very difficult to let Sainz go without any strings, its ok they have Gasly ... but Kvyat is in his way out, and next year both Ric and Ver will be off contract, if they leave the RB ship then RB will be in a very difficult situation to get a good/experienced drivers in both teams....

94 has been reported that Sainz is, basically, on a one year loan to Renault. The are quite few drivers coming onto the market at the end of '18 so it will be a shake out going forward for a period of possibly two/three years.


We don't know the details, yet. I'm guessing there are stipulations and performance options on all of the contracts going around.


IMO, Carlito was hired by Renault bcs they sell a lot of cars in Spain.
Sainz is still very erratic over a season.
Anyway its quite telling that Renault prefers Sainz Jr. to FAlonso.


Carlito, who's Carlito?


3 wasted years of this engine era and 3 more to go so Mclaren seem to have taken the most sensible course of action for some credible results till its all change again.
Unlikely any twilight zone style everything alonso does has opposite effect stuff will happen either.


It's all bla bla bla until they line up on the grid in Albert Park next March.


Wouldn't it be amazing if Honda finally got their act together next year and McLaren are left with a mediocre Renault engine. Sad, but I honestly think it could happen!


It's called the " the omen of Alonso" I'm afraid. 😊


You just might be on to something there JK.
I think i saw a Taro reader leaving that meeting between Renault, Redbull and McLaren!


@ LKFE and why would a 'reader' be carrying a Polynesian sweet potato? hahaha


It's the anti-oxidants Ken...they help with visualising!


I'm happy for Sainz and will be glad to see Alonso and Vandoorne *hopefully* a little further up the grid next year.

Honda and/or McLaren must be agreeing to pay TR a tonne of money as I can't believe Mateschitz would agree to a deal that was so lob-sided towards his competitors without some really tantalizing benefits to the Red Bull Group.

I feel as though we'll see Gasly and Matsushita paired together at TR next year with Danny K left out in the cold.

That just leaves Williams to confirm someone - Probably Massa, possibly Perez, Wehrlein, Kyvat or if we're getting into Fantasy F1 Kubica or Di Resta


Once again, I cannot believe Mclaren are doing this, apparently they must know something else about Honda that we don't. Mclaren cannot compete with Red Bull. 4 second pit stops.. so even on pit stops alone they are lagging. Their only advantage is one driver, who hasn't even signed on yet. To me it still makes no sense switching to Renault when you could have Honda all to yourself... maybe there is something we're all unaware of. James, thoughts?


@ Cheesy... "Mclaren must know something else about Honda that we don't'? That would be the understatement of the year.


Cheesypoof. Alonso wanted Renault engines, and threatened to walk if he didn't get them. The old blackmailer up to his tricks again....


Your theory being Mclaren were victims both times? They hired him. They know more than you. Yet here you are barking about it again. Surprise surprise.


Just a little joke Cheesypoof, I forgot how much you hate talking about 2007.....


I have to ask how did we end up here. How was the Mclaren-Honda relationship which promised so much produced so little. While honda is largely responsible, Mclaren also does share the blame. Mclaren et al needed to provide the leadership to Honda to bring in outside consultants to speed development - which now appears to be happening. Ultimately, Honda will have the best engine in 18 months because at the end of the day - when you have honda's resources - eventually it will click. Ron was great because he had this thing called vision - he saw potential were other don't.


Sorry but Ron doesn't have the greatest vision. He was the one who insisted Honda start a year earlier than they wanted. He didn't insist on any base in England, instead they operate like 2 different entities. He should have known from year one major changes were needed. Their goal was to be champions.. looking at Mercedes then they'd know they need massive turnaround.


I still can't understand why people still insist that the Honda will come good. To beat others with proven products and challenge for wins because that's engine manufacturers must believe that they can do. Obviously Mclaren, if this story is true, don't share that opinion and if anyone would know it would be Mclaren.


Ironically one can almost say the same thing about McLaren themselves. As the last longer period where McLaren were winning in F1 was all the way back in 1988 to 1991.

And Honda were their engine supplier.
Go figure...


I think McLaren did OK in 1998 & 1999 with Mercedes power...


Hul vrs Sai will be quite a good battle, something like Per-Oco, and as well that other one, I can see the losers of their battles also being left in the limbo of F1 ... so they better fight hard.


One interesting consequence of this is that Red Bull and McLaren will be running the same engines next year- which will certainly test how good McLaren's chasssis really is as well as hopefully provide some good Alonso/Verstappen/Ricciardo match ups on track! 🙂


Agree Mat, but not in that order, i think!


I hope Jolyon Palmer keeps the seat for the rest of the year. Renault have not given him a reliable car this season to showcase his talent.


Disagree part of F1 is overcoming reliability issues and to deliver to deliver good driving performances in spite of issues. Palmer hasn't done that


Most versions of the story suggest thar Sainz will replace Palmer with immediate effect after the next race. Gasly will then presumably have the rest of the year to make his mark at TR. If Palmer is to be dropped and the next race is to be his last I somehow think that whoever (person or persons) has been responsible for Palmer's attrocious mechanical luck to date is not going to have some sort of epiphany and suddently give him a car that is capable of a top ten finish and probably not even one capable of getting out of Q1 either. Renault will not want any embarrasment from a good Palmer performance however overdue. It the car is a dog I hope that Palmer parks it in the middle of the pit straigh and says that it is rubbish!


Totally get what you're saying there, but one thing you can label at Palmer, he's been a model employee for Renault, in what will likely be their toughest times in their development.
I think he would do very well in Formula E or equivalent. Maybe he'll even get a drive somewhere else on the grid, but would have to agree, it looks doubtful.
The amount of mechanical issues he's had is astonishing, but some drivers are dogged with that issue, and it does make me wonder what the reason is (there has to be one). Johnnie Herbert used to get similar mechanical breakdowns all the time, in every car he drove, maybe its the way they like the car setup, or the way they drive - who knows!! It can't be coincidence or bad luck though - curious!


Hear, hear! The R.S.16 lash-up last year and the less-than-reliable No 2 R.S.17 this. Wonder if Sainz will get a podium before The Hulk manages it?


I don't see what Toro Rosso get out of this. They lose a great driver and get an awful Honda engine. Maybe Honda will give them a big sack of cash, but what use is that when you're trolling around at the back of the field or parked up by the side of the road after your engine goes pop for the tenth time?


Since Ross brokered this deal, maybe Liberty are throwing something into the deal? Clearly it is in their interest to keep Honda in F1.


Perfect move for Sainz. Given all the seats at Merc, Ferrari and RBR are taken up, then Renault has to be the best option for the future. I would even tip Renault to be up there with the top 2 teams over the next 2 years. Maybe a mistake for Alonso to stick at McLaren, I don't see them improving massively with a Renault engine, and will Renault want to see any other Renault engined team do better than the works team? Smart move too from RBR, If Honda turn the corner working under less pressure from TR, then RBR/TR benefit from exclusive supply. I wonder if Honda will eye up a team to buy as a works outfit. Sauber? Rename it to Team Honda.


Sauber has just dumped Honda so I doubt they will be willing to sell up to them anytime soon . RB will Honda's 'work's team eventually If Honda were to buy anyone out it would be STR most likely as that team is actually on the market.


While l would have loved to see Ocon in a Renault l am very happy to see Saintz move there. It looks loke a good pairing to me with Hulkenberg and would expect good results from both of them if the car of 2018 is a good step up vs this year's challenger. A frenchman to Toro Rosso is another positive for me if it happens. Marc


Of course for Sainz this is an optimal outcome. He will be very, very pleased. TR will always be a midfield player, but Renault can easily become a topteam. He now must beat Hulkenberg, a tough but not at this point of time an impossible task.
Red Bull now will get the inside data of two engines. That surely must be worth a great deal, in this case the price is Sainz. But honestly they had some kind of luxury problem with 3 very good drivers at the moment. Besides nobody at RB will be looking forward to a Verstappen/Sainz partnership.
So it looks like Sainz and RB are the clear winners of the McLaren/Honda problem


If these proposals come to fruition then it will be a good result for many reasons. Gaining a Renault engine will at least give Mclaren one step up in engines and the possibility of gaining a better result in '!8. It will also keep Alonso in the game which is also important for the show. If, and it's a big if, Honda manage to build a better mousetrap/engine then so be it. Mclaren simply cannot afford another year in the wilderness. It also frees Sainz to try and make his mark in a different environment. I have been impressed with Sainz as i see a real racer there that should be a contender in the years ahead. As for the retention of Kvyat...i am not so sure. He is what i call a mercurial driver. He can be fast and he can be erratic, he can be up and he can be down, it's hard to pick, but does he have any linger term potential? Maybe? Palmer just never seemed to be F1 material. I definitely think that he was out of his depth. He's had an appalling run of luck but that, in analysis, would've been accounted for by the team. If they do let him go then he can at least say i gave it my best shot and that wasn't just enough. Tough business.


@kenneth I wonder if Mclaren have some sort of reunion clause. As in, if Honda engine becomes reliable next year, that in 2019 Mclaren can reunite with Honda. Otherwise it means Mclaren really believe one or two things, firstly that Honda will never develop a race winning engine before 2021, or secondly that Mclaren have given up on winning any championships until 2021. If the second was the case, that means Alonso would not sign a long term contract there and only a one year one to come into play next year.


@ Cheesy...yes, maybe there is something like that in the fine print. The problem is that I very much doubt if we'll be made privy to the facts. What ever eventuates it will be better than the status quo. At least we'll get to see Sainz emerging from the cocoon and spreading his wings. That should be good. The other thing i'm looking forward to is seeing if Alonso can really take it another notch. He's far too good to be languishing on a deckchair in the sun whilst the racing moves on. With Sainz gone [ ? ] i expect TR will hold onto Kvyat for at least another year. Watching him fend off Gasly will also be interesting. So lots off things to watch out for but they are classified in the 'not too vital bag'. What i really want to see is some changes at the top. Next year should see some movement.....


I'm glad to see Sainz having the opportunity to drive alongside Hulk more than anything in this news break. However, my understanding is that the RB still has full control over his short term future as a partner of Renault. This deal seems to be a mastery by RB due to Ric or Ves seem to leaving within the next couple of years. The. They can just put Sainz in one the cars. Again it will all depend on how he goes alongside Hulk.


Assuming this is the end for McHonda its a shame it has to be so awkward and complex. I get the frustration with the current situation but I do have a nagging feeling that Honda will come good.

As for Sainz, good luck and I'm sure Hulk will be more nervous than he ever was with PAL as team mate. I think it s a good move and can honestly see PAL going before the end of the season.


May be Honda leaving Alonso might be a reason, as you can see Ferrari resurgence just after FA leaves. Poor Alonso wherever he goes trouble follows.


never mind about Sainz whats going to happen to Jolyon? will this leave the UK with just one driver in F1


Its been a rough time for Palmer in F1. Can almost feel sorry for him, as the car etc was not up to it either. But Palmer came into F1 as GP2 champ, albeit spent 4 years there to achieve that feat. And were beaten by his teammates in the other seasons. Actually his whole racing career has been 'unconventional' in the poorest sense. He started with just one in karting before moving to T-Cars. Then straight into his father’s Formula Palmer Audi series. From there to Formula 2, where he was beaten to the title in second year by rookie Dean Stoneman. Sorry to say, but Palmer’s rookie results in junior series were poor! 5th in T-Cars, 10th in Formula Palmer Audi, 21st in F2, and 28th in GP2... How did he even get into F1???
And we all know that Palmer was not Renault’s first choice for 2017, so expect this to be the last we will see of him in F1.


I suspect Honda will leave Matshushita in F2 for 2018. He'll benefit from the experience and (surely) earn his superlicence points. Meanwhile, Toro Rosso are spared the non-optimal situation of moving from two known quantities (insofar as the mercurial Kvyat can be considered 'known') to two unknowns. They could benchmark Gasly against Kvyat in 2018, then have a better idea of where Matsushita stands in 2019.

I think Sainz needed to move on. It was hard to see where he could go from STR, with the top team looking full for the foreseeable. He's quietly impressed from the outset in F1, but was put in the shade somewhat by the very noisy Max Verstappen. The one thing I do think about Sainz is that he seems a touch reluctant to push outside of his comfort zone, and he'll need to start pushing the envelope if he wants to win races. Renault have got themselves a cracking lineup for next year, though. I think these two will push each other hard, but without the kind of fireworks we've seen at Force India this year. It'll be a race to see who gets his first podium!

I have to spare a thought for Jolyon Palmer, though, who is a much better driver than he's been able to show in F1. He's had absolutely wretched luck, but you also have to say he's not delivered when he's had the chance. Jolyon's big problem is that, throughout his career, he's taken a year or two longer than his peers to adapt to each new formula. He was just getting to grips with F1 when the new cars threw him a googly. It's hard to see where he goes from here, but I suspect we're watching his final races as an F1 driver.


I just don't get it!

Situation leading up to this (or so we've been lead to believe) is that McLaren wanted out of Honda deal, and neither Renault nor Merc were will to supply an additional team.

So then we hear that McLaren are discussing an engine swap with Toro Rosso. Publicly, Renault say they'd prefer not to change customer, but it's hard to see why (a bit of 'bedding in' aside) cos presumably the cost of supplying team A is no different to supplying team B.

Then there's the Red Bull angle: Sainz is part of their program, and is highly rated. Why would RB want to see him move to a competitor team who'll be using the same engines as they are. And, more to the point, why would RB wish to have McLaren powered by the same PU, setting themselves up for a direct competition with - and potentially losing their 3rd place to - McLaren in 2018?

Much as I respect Honda (I drive one), their F1 PU program has been an unmitigated failure - there is no reason to believe they will ever catch up whilst these complex hybrid PUs and restrictive testing / engine rules are part of F1; McLaren have clearly given up on the hope of a breakthrough from Honda. So why on earth would Toro Rosso wish to give up the reasonably-good-and-improving Renault PU in exchange for Honda's fragile-and-under-powered effort?

I'm pretty confused about it all. It seems McLaren are the ones wanting the deal, yet TR (and to a lesser extend RB) are the ones taking all of the risks and making the sacrifices to get the deal to happen.

Can you further unravel this one for us, James?


My fingers are crossed for Gasly. Surely Honda have been poor enough this year that they can't demand their own driver over him (license points aside).


Good move for Sainz, but as far as McLaren go they'll be no better off than they were in 2013 or 2014 and I expect similar results. Neither Renault or Red Bull will be easy to beat and I get the feeling they're relying on Alonso to make the difference.

Williams should also improve with Paddy Lowe's first car allied with Mercedes power, best the MCL33R can hope for is plenty of 6th/7th/8th places.

søren christensen

@Regis. Well first Toro Rosso get 6 Million EUR for letting Sainz go to Renault. Then they get free engines - and a load of sponsoring from Honda, Plus, I bet you, an agreement to sell the team to Honda within 2 years.
They get Matsushita as new driver from 2018 instead of the hopeless Kvyat.
And not to forget: The management at TR get a much more peaceful time, than they have now with the constantly moaning Sainz, and the erratic and crashing Kvyat.
By 2018, the Honda engines will be developed and ready for a new succesful campaign.
And Mclaren will regret they bought themselves out of the Honda contract, and forked out a lot of money for a French engine, by 2018 not even on par with Honda.
PS: Renault will still only deliver to 3 teams from -18


@ Soren... What makes you so sure that Honda will do in the next 12 months that they haven't been able to do in the past three years? Anything to support that theory or is it just a matter of taking a guess, like a lot of others are doing.? To be competitive they not only have to be able to finish races but they then must successfully take on the next three suppliers each of which are levels up on each other. I'm not aware of any data that would support that proposition for the simple reason that if was true then Mclaren would never have walked.


".....By 2018, the Honda engines will be developed and ready for a new succesful campaign.
And Mclaren will regret they bought themselves out of the Honda contract....."

Stranger things have happened....

It's a possibility McLaren might face, but I suppose that they are unwilling to risk yet another horrible season next year so see switching engines as the lesser of two evils.


"By 2018, the Honda engines will be developed and ready for a new succesful campaign.
And Mclaren will regret they bought themselves out of the Honda contract, and forked out a lot of money for a French engine, by 2018 not even on par with Honda."

Stranger things have happened.......

It's a possibility McLaren might have to face, but I suppose they are just not prepared to stick with Honda and risk facing another horrible year so they may see switching as the lesser of two evils.


There's a heck of a lot of assumptions being made here. It's all guesswork until official announcements are made. Personally, I hope McLaren stay with Honda, and Alonso can do what he wants. He's a great driver but he should retire from trying to manipulate the entire industry for his own benefit. There are many young thrusters out there gagging for a go.


Is being good, reliable and well regarded enough to keep a seat in F1?
If so Hulkenberg may fit the role, though I thought it was more about being great, dynamic and pushing boundaries. Or are you saying all the drivers on the grid are great and its all about the car???

And if it isn't, then what is it we have seen from Hulkenberg?
Think I can only really recall one moment, which was for Sauber in Korea back in 2013, where he kept Hamilton and Alonso behind. But the podiums remain out of his reach. A few glimmers of hope when leading a race at some time in 2012 and at the race in Azerbaijan this year where he had a genuine chance and he screwed up (again, when under pressure?).
Look at Perez in the same Force India car made it to the podium 4 times!
And Perez doesn't appear to be rated WDC material by many...
So yeah, congrats Hulkenberg - You will be the new record holder on Sunday!
Taking over from another good, consistent German driver called Sutil, who unfortunately is more remembered for his Shanghai nightclub assault conviction than F1 podium results...


Or this is just a driver switcheroo and Mclaren will stay with Honda.


Domenicali, see resurgence in Alonso in 2018. What if McLaren get Renault engine which got quite competitive and find that, its not have a car which they claims that have one of the best in business. It may be a very good car but Honda engine have not pushed it to the limits, if this will be a case McLaren won't have any place to hide.


Good for Sainz..

So Honda doesnt get a say who or not it can supply engine?


An ideal situation for:
i. Carlos
ii. Toro Rosso
iii. Red Bull
iv. Pierre Gasly
and probably:
v. Honda
An incredibly bad situation for:
a. McLaren - now being effectively run by a driver with (to say the least) unproven management experience of a modern F1 team
b. Alonso himself, much like the drowning man, pulling everybody within his grasp down with him!
c. obviously, Jolyon Palmer - who knows what the machination of F1 (of which I am usually very critical) have contributed towards his appearing utterly out-of-his-depth in F1 (maybe he's the best racer since... since... Fernando Alonso?!?)

The biggest loser:
Zak Brown a joke of a team principle, having his team run by a driver, and apparently incapable of 'guts' and sticking to a strategic plan; should be fired at once!

Red Bull win world championship in 2019-2020 (at the latest), with the game-changer PU developed by Honda during its time with McLaren (and Mercedes stopping development of their PU aligned with plans to leave F1 as a constructor to focus on their FE team).


Not sure is I'd agree that Zak is a joke but the impression that I get from his statements is that there are brighter more clued up people posting on internet forums!


@ Warley...surely you can't be serious?


not entirely - I did use the word "impresssion" and added an exclamation mark but I think he is one of the less impressive F1 front persons on racing related topics at least.


Sainz will beat Hulk eazy!


Sainz to Renault is great! He's had plenty of time in Toro Rosso. Kvyat now needs to lead in 2018 and take it easy with the hot headedness. It's 2018 or never for him.


The most interesting part of this post is the fact that taking F1 behind a paywall in France has reduced the audience from 4m to 750,000. How can any of the sponsors or teams be happy with this ?

It's an indication of what is going to happen when Channel 4 gives way to Sky's exclusive pay-tv coverage in the UK. If the new F1 management had any sense it would do what is necessary to sort this out now.


Why not put Robert instead of JP this year, get some points, considering he might be around Hulk speed due to long time out, and get Carlos next year. That will keep everybody happy and give Kubica time in track to show himself 🙂


"Why not put Robert instead of JP this year, get some points..."

This assumes the No 2 R.S.17 suddenly becomes reliable!


Driving is a partnership between the man and the maquina. We can assume some bad luck, but you can see more reliable drivers on the grid. If it is just luck then Ricardo would have won the lottery 10 times. You have to feel and listen to the car... I don't think JP has it, sorry.


A note of caution: this does not yet appear to be a done deal, despite all the media speculation. One or two items on one or two websites seem to have disappeared, and there have been no announcements from anybody yet. Swapping drivers around at this stage of the season when Toro Rosso are, I'm sure, keen to defend their sixth position in the constructors championship, does not appear wise.

There's a bit of a frenzy over who might take who's place, so it would be a hoot if all the deals were done only for Alonso to sign for Williams to get the Mercedes PU.


Put up or shut up time for Kvyat.

No disrespect to PAL but I hope the teams find a way for SAI to move in 2017. Kvyat then has the opportunity to stamp his authority on any incoming hotshoe and step up to leading a team. If he doesn't do that then I think its Formula E, Le Mans or Touring Cars.


"Hulkenberg’s race performances haven’t always lived up to his qualifying pace"
Not sure it's really true. He's generally fast, consistent, and has very good racecraft. Intelligent stats would be good to see.


Brilliant move by RBR. Put Honda with the Jr. team and let them show you they can build a competitive engine. If they can; RBR drops a Honda into the back of its car in 2019 and beyond.


turns out it's renault dropping redbull altogether after next year..


I'm tired of these engine supply debacles. The regulations have got to change to allow independent engine suppliers. The manufacturers in the this hybrid era have ruined the integrity of the racing for me. I don't see the point of teams competing when they are hobbled from the start. That's not sport, and true sportsmen would not stand for it.


As a McLaren fan, I'm intrigued to see what it looks like compared to Red Bull with the same engine. Hoping it'll be the "big 4" instead of the "big 3" we keep hearing about.
Feel sorry for Honda relationship which could've offered much more.
Surprised there isn't a full article on the breakup on this site too, it's big news??

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