World champ is a hard act to follow, son says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 November, 2010, 12:00am

Being the son of two-time world rallying champion Carlos Sainz has its advantages. But Carlos Sainz Jnr says it's not all it's cracked up to be.

The 16-year-old Madrid-born Sainz knows comparisons will always be made and only his best, whether he's on or off the track, is expected.

'I know when I go on to the track I have five pairs of eyes on me, instead of just one. They are watching my performance so I have to be more careful. It's added pressure but I have to deal with it,' said Sainz. 'I am already used it, but one thing is certain ... I love to have my father by my side.'

The teenager, who is making waves in Formula Renault racing in Europe having won the Rookie Cup and finishing fourth overall in the past season, knows the advantages of having a famous father far outweigh the disadvantages.

'To have the double world rally champion by my side and giving me advice is a great feeling, especially as I have a good relationship with him,' Sainz said. 'We are like friends and this helps me a lot for sure.'

The Spaniard ace knows his 48-year-old father [Sainz Snr was world champion in 1990 and 1992] supports him wholeheartedly - even when it came down to making a decision to race Formula cars instead of following in his father's footsteps on the rallying circuit.

'Since I was five, I started watching Formula One on TV and I said: 'This is my dream'. When I was 10, I said to my father: 'What about if started racing? ... I wanted to race and I said: 'Let's go for it. He said okay but asked me: 'You don't prefer rallying?' and I said: 'No'. I thought Formula One was easier to follow.'

In this case, the father wants me to follow my dream instead of his.

'That's what fathers are for,' said Sainz, who has been taught good manners as well and has the ability to conduct media interviews in four languages.

'My father attends about 90 per cent of all my races,' he said proudly. 'He is always giving me advice. At first, I didn't know how significant it was to be double world champion and how important it was to have that sort of experience at the highest level. He really knows racing and he has a proven record. I have to trust him 100 per cent.'

Sainz's experience in Macau has also been a learning curve as he discovered in practice. Competing as a guest driver in the Formula BMW Pacific series, Sainz managed eight laps in the 10-lap practice session before putting his car into a wall on the first corner.

'I started off really well and even though I crashed out after eight laps, I was very calm about it. I was just trying to do my job - learning the track. I was about a second off the top guy [Malaysia's Calvin Wong]. But I pushed it a bit too much. I'm not too disappointed as this is my first year in Macau and it was my first practice so it was a good result,' he said.