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Sainz happy to swap grid penalties for engine performance in 2018

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Renault F1 Team
© XPB 

Carlos Sainz will gladly trade engine grid penalties for fresh power unit elements if it contributes to Renault's progress and development this year.

The French manufacture is one of a number of teams which is expecting to tactically manage its engine allocation this season following the reduction from four to three power units per car as imposed by the 2018 rules.

Breaching the restriction, and thus using a fourth engine, would obviously trigger grid penalties, but Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul recently stated that the trade-off could help the team achieve a better balance in the future between power and reliability.

Sainz says he won't lose any sleep over the prospect of starting a race at the bottom of the grid.

"For me this is a minor thing in the whole year," Sainz told Motorsport.com.

"When there's a rule that you can use only three engines for the whole season, and you are a team that is not worried about 2018, you are worried about being world champions in 2020, you need to make progress.

"And to make progress you need to put engines on the track and test them, and try to put the performance on them.
"It's a reminder that this is a team that's using 2018 as a development year, and in a development year you need to bring new things into the pool, and start testing.

"It might not be ideal, but we're not fighting for the world championship, so it's not like starting last one race is going to change things."

Sainz also says the tactic will allow Renault to develop more consistently, with an increasing number of upgrades, and help its engine close the gap with its Ferrari and Mercedes counter parts.

"With three engines through the year, it's very difficult to cover that gap," he said.

"This way, you get more upgrade opportunities [by using more engines], so that's precisely why they are doing it.

"I didn't expect it to be announced so early, but I already heard the rumours," he added.

"I'm happy, because it means the team really wants to progress. They are not worried about reliability, it's just about performance."

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