Carlos Sainz Jr. is about to embark on his first season in Formula One. If that name seems familiar, it should do – his father was one of the greatest rally drivers of all time.
Carlos Sainz senior won two World Rally Championships for Toyota in the early nineties and sits third on on the all-time list of WRC wins. After subsequent stints with Lancia, Subaru and Ford he returned to Toyota in 1998 following on from their twelve-month ban from the championship.
After a season long battle with Mitsubishi’s
Father Dougal McGuire Tommi Makinen, the two drivers went into the final round of the season separated by just two points. After Makinen retired from the rally early on a third title for Sainz seemed certain, and as the video shows, made plenty of cocky comments to back that up. Arrogance aside, what followed was one of the most galling pieces of luck in sport.
Sainz would never win that third championship, but he continued to compete in the WRC for Ford and Citroen, and was still winning rallys well into his forties. Perhaps learning from that lost title, Sainz built up a reputation as one of the most humble and down to earth guys in the WRC. Since retiring from the WRC he has been a regular competitor in the gruelling Dakar Rally, winning the event in 2010, and helped develop VW’s all-conquering Polo WRC.
Throughout his short career it has looked almost certain that Sainz Jr. would make it into F1, and with all of his fathers experience to learn from he has every opportunity for a long and successful career. Though 17 year old Max Verstappen may be grabbing all the headlines at Toro Rosso, you can never count out a Sainz.