Carlos Sainz feels that his compatriot Fernando Alonso is returning to Formula 1 at a “very good time” given Renault’s improvements.
After being away from the grid for two seasons, Alonso will be driving for the French team alongside Esteban Ocon next year.
With stable regulations, the pecking order in 2021 will be largely unchanged from this season’s, and that’s something that could bode well for the Spaniard.
After a slow start, Renault has been one of the strongest teams when it comes to development and now has arguably the third quickest car on the grid.
This has been reflected by Daniel Ricciardo’s P3 finish at the Nurburgring and the fact that, based on current form, the team may well finish the season in that very spot in the Constructors’ Championship.
Because of this, Sainz, who replaced the double World Champion at McLaren, feels that the timing of Alonso’s return is perfect.
“I actually think Renault, or Alpine, is doing a very good job right now,” he told Motorsportweek.com.
“They’re definitely in the right direction after a tough year in 2019 and they look to have found the right path for developing their car and they are making our lives very difficult at McLaren.
“I think Fernando is joining Renault actually at a very good time after some difficult years and I think it is good news for the sport, for Formula 1. It’s just good news for everyone for him to be back.”
Sainz himself enjoyed an excellent first season at McLaren, proving more than capable of filling Alonso’s shoes by finishing as the best of the rest in the championship with 96 points.
His second year with the British team hasn’t been quite as successful. While he scored his second podium at Monza, he only has 51 points, is P11 in the standings and is trailing team-mate, Lando Norris.
Despite this, he doesn’t have any regrets regarding 2020. Well, except one.
“I cannot be regretting anything right now that is going on at McLaren,” he added.
“For sure I regret my Turn 2 at Russia and it is one of the only regrets! But apart from that honestly everything is going very well, I’m having a lot of fun in this team, I’m enjoying myself as a Formula 1 driver.
“I feel like it has extracted the best from me, and I’m trying to extract the maximum from the team.”
Like Alonso, Sainz too will be driving for a new team next season, joining Charles Leclerc at Ferrari.