Getty Images

Sainz joins Renault from USGP onwards; Kvyat, Gasly to finish season for Toro Rosso

Leave a comment

Renault has confirmed that Carlos Sainz Jr. will make his Formula 1 debut with the team at the United States Grand Prix later this month, completing his move from Toro Rosso four races early.

Daniil Kvyat will return to Toro Rosso after two races out and partner Pierre Gasly, who will not contest the Super Formula finale as a result.

Minutes after Jolyon Palmer announced via Instagram he would be leaving Renault after this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, the French marque issued a statement confirming Sainz from the Austin race until the end of the season.

Sainz had been due to join Renault for the 2018 season, with the team making efforts to sign him as early as Malaysia, but only reached an agreement with Palmer to terminate the contract after Suzuka.

“First of all I would like to thank Toro Rosso and Red Bull for allowing me the possibility of finishing this season with Renault Sport Racing,” Sainz said.

“More specifically, I really want to thank all my engineers and mechanics for their support and tremendous work throughout these years. Toro Rosso is made up of a fantastic group of people and I wish them only the best for the future.

“On my side, I will definitely do my very best in tomorrow’s race – this would be the best possible send-off! Additionally, competing in these last four races with Renault gives me a good opportunity to get to know the team and the car earlier than expected. I am looking forward to start working with them.”

Kvyat was dropped by Toro Rosso due to poor form after the Singapore Grand Prix, making way for 2016 GP2 champion Gasly, but will be drafted back in to replace Sainz.

The announcement from Toro Rosso also confirmed Gasly for the USGP, meaning he will not fight for the Super Formula title in Japan despite sitting just half a point behind the leader heading into the season finale.

More to follow…

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.