Carlos Sainz believes Toro Rosso could surpass Red Bull in the championship standings next season thanks to its switch from Renault to Ferrari power in 2016.
The rookie line-up of Sainz and team-mate Max Verstappen delivered some impressive performances in their debut season with the Italian-based team, scoring a podium and 66 points to place the team seventh.
However they were some distance from beating Red Bull, which managed three podium finishes and 187 points to finish fourth, behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams.
But Sainz reckons their new Ferrari power unit – albeit a 2015-spec unit – will give them a major advantage over Red Bull’s TAG-branded Renault engine.
“In theory, we should be ahead of Red Bull next season,” said the Spaniard.
“The Ferrari engine has perhaps 50 or 60 more horsepower. For us that means between six and eight tenths of a second, while Red Bull was about half a second faster than us this season with the same engine.
“So in theory, we should be ahead,” he added. “But I think Red Bull will have learned what their weaknesses are and they will also certainly have a better car in 2016.”
Whilst the claim might sound promising, Toro Rosso are of course running Ferrari’s current engine, rather than the updated 2016-spec unit. Red Bull meanwhile will co-develop Renault’s power unit alongside Mario Illien, with the hope of closing that deficit over the winter.