Carlos Sainz Jr.: Renault power definitely getting closer to front

Carlos Sainz Jr. has emphasised that Renault has moved closer to Formula 1’s engine pacesetters this season, in spite of early struggles.

Renault has lagged behind Mercedes, and latterly Ferrari, through Formula 1’s hybrid era, while Honda’s emergence – having replaced Renault as Red Bull’s supplier – has also threatened the manufacturer’s standing.

The French marque’s drivers are also on the brink of engine-related grid penalties in the wake of having to take on updated components following an MGU-K fix.

“I think Renault has done progress, definitely, in terms of power you see at every track this year we are a lot closer to the top,” he said.

“There is still one engine for me which is excelling which is the Ferrari engine in quali mode which is still a good step ahead.

“But Renault has made progress and on the power side the engine [introduced in Spain] is supposed to be a progress in reliability which is where we are at the weakest so hopefully we will keep moving forward and they will keep bringing steps.

“But compared to last year we definitely have more power.

“I cannot tell you exactly the gap between the engines as that is a quite private thing for the manufacturers but it is not for me to comment. But it is a good step.”

McLaren failed to make Q3 in Spain but Sainz Jr.’s team-mate Lando Norris outlined that the team has made gains – opting to use the front-limited Shanghai Circuit, rather than Bahrain or Azerbaijan, as proof of progress.

“I do think if we look at where we were in China, not Baku, we have made progress,” he said.

“It is hard to tell exactly as the tracks are still pretty different overall.

“If we look at it in an overview way we’ve made a bit of progress which is positive but I don’t think if we went straight back to China now I don’t think we’d easily contest Q3, there is still more time to find but we have made progress which is the most important thing.”