Carlos Sainz Jr has warned his Renault team to be wary of Force India in the battle for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. The 24-year-old Spanish driver, who will depart Renault to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren for the 2019 Formula 1 campaign, is desperate to depart having helped his current team to finish behind the big three teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Renault currently occupy fourth spot with Haas only 15 points behind them and his future employers McLaren sit 33 points adrift.
However, it is Force India who Sainz Jr feels are the ones to keep an eye on, despite the Silverstone-based outfit being 59 points behind them going into the final six races.
Since a consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll saved the cash-strapped team, Force India have been able to introduce some long-awaited updates and their drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon picked up a combined 32 points in Belgium and Italy after the summer break.
They endured a disappointing outing in Singapore last weekend, but Sainz Jr is backing Force India to become a real threat.
“Our target was to finish fourth in the constructors’ and if it was not for the penalty they suffered they would be ahead of us by pure performance,” Sainz told Motorsport.com.
“We need to be very careful with Force India,” he adds. “We know that in the second half of the season they always start to come alive and they’ve proved it once more, once they’ve got a bit of money and everything. A track like Singapore where we expected to be ahead, we’re behind.”
He added: “We’re going to make sure we give everything to hold onto that P4. It’s going to be a tough second half of the season.”