For the next few weeks, as we await the return of racing, Motorsport Week is delving into the archives to search out the first time that our grid of 2020 F1 racers stepped into top-level machinery in a public forum.
Carlos Sainz followed his namesake father into motorsport but opted to do so on the circuit rather than on the rally course.
Sainz Jr. secured backing from Red Bull early in his single-seater career and by 2013 had made his way up to the GP3 Series, as team-mate to fellow junior Daniil Kvyat.
Formula 1 tested mid-2013 at Silverstone, with Sainz Jr. getting behind the wheel of Toro Rosso’s STR8 before stepping up to Red Bull’s RB9 the following day.
The limited time meant Sainz Jr. only completed 74 laps across his stints in the car but had an interested observer in World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who was impressed by the youngster’s speed.
But Sainz Jr. and Kvyat’s form across the rest of 2013 varied and while the Russian earned a surprise F1 promotion Sainz Jr. was shipped to Formula Renault 3.5
Sainz Jr. impressed through 2014 but Max Verstappen’s emergence led Red Bull to swiftly hand him a Toro Rosso seat for 2015, alongside Kvyat, leaving Sainz Jr. out in the cold.
But in October Red Bull revealed Sebastian Vettel’s exit, promoted Kvyat in his place for 2015, thus opening a vacancy at Toro Rosso.
Sainz Jr. was handed another Red Bull run at the post-season Abu Dhabi test and was then duly announced as the new occupant of the 2015 Toro Rosso seat.