Work / Life: Formula 1 Driver

A day in the life of…
Carlos Sainz, Formula 1 Driver

What are you responsible for in your job? What does that involve, what do you do, who with?
I am one of the two official drivers for Renault Sport Formula One Team. My job obviously involves racing for the team in every Grand Prix of the F1 calendar, but there is much more to it than only racing. I play an important role in developing the car and helping it to be faster and more efficient. During the year I also take part in several testing days and I travel to Enstone to have team meetings, check any available upgrade and drive and improve the racing simulator. Moreover, I also play an important part from the marketing perspective, attending many media interviews, sponsor events, corporate events and, of course, trying to spend as much time as possible near the fans!

Describe a typical day in your job.
It depends if we are on a race week or a week back home. Race weeks are quite similar throughout the year. Thursday is all about meetings with the engineers to prepare the last details of the car, doing interviews and, sometimes, attending an event at the end of the day out of the circuit. Friday consists of two Free Practice sessions, maybe some meet and greets with sponsors, interviews and team meetings at the end of the day. I normally have dinner with the whole team at the track since we finish late. Saturday is pretty much the same as Friday but with the adrenaline of the Qualifying session! On Sunday, when I arrive at the track, I normally do some meet and greets and a couple of interviews. Just before the race I always enjoy the Drivers Parade to say hi to all the fans and then it is time to focus on the race start. Right after the chequered flag I will do interviews in the TV pen and, if possible, fly back home on the same day. In between races a typical day means waking up early, training, going to the office to organise agendas and have meetings with advisors or sponsors and, of course, speaking to my engineers on the phone to start preparing the next race!

How did you get the job? What is your background and why did you take this job?
I fell in love with Formula 1 when I saw Renault win two consecutive F1 World Championships back in 2005 and 2006 with Fernando Alonso. After that, I started racing in go-karting until I managed to qualify and sign a contract for the Red Bull Junior Team in 2010. After four years competing in different formula categories (Formula BMW, Formula Renault, Formula 3, GP3) I won the Formula Renault 3,5 World Series in 2014. That was my ticket to make my dream come true! I made my F1 debut at the age of 20 the following year, in 2015, driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso as a Red Bull driver. Three years later, with only four races to go of the 2017 season, I moved to Renault Sport Formula One Team, the team that made me love this sport in the first place!

What is your most memorable moment…
Winning the Formula Renault 3,5 World Series in 2014 was definitely a highlight. I will never forget my debut in F1 in Australia in 2015. My fourth place in Singapore 2017 with Scuderia Toro Rosso (just before coming to Renault) was a great way to thank them for all their support throughout my stay at that team.

And the worst part of your job…?
I guess having a tough race! But it is part of racing and there are always going to be bad races in the career of a driver. Maybe the number of interviews during the year is a bit too much…but yet again is part of my dream job so I can´t complain!

The best part of your job then…

What do you do after work? How do you unwind?
Sport has always been my escape route. Doing any type of sport with my friends or family is the best way to recharge batteries. I am very keen on golf lately!

What do you do before going to sleep?
Not much to be honest, maybe watch a series or sometimes a movie someone has recommended. Once I go to bed I might go through my phone for a while, but normally I will fall asleep really fast.

Plan B… If you weren’t doing your job, what would you have done instead? I love this question because I have no idea! I can’t imagine my life without motorsport and F1. I guess something related to another sport.