Carlos Sainz Jr. believes he will need time to adjust himself to life at Renault before he can start matching the pace of new team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
Sainz will switch across to the Enstone-based outfit from the US Grand Prix after Renault agreed to end Jolyon Palmer’s contract early, thus allowing the 23-year-old to move from Toro Rosso and into the Briton’s seat for the rest of the year.
The Spaniard will face a stern test to get up to Hulkenberg’s speed, the German has scored all but eight of Renault’s 42 points this season since joining from Force India and Sainz admits he won’t automatically be on one-time pole sitter’s pace to begin with.
“He has done 16 races with a car that I’ve never driven,” he said.
“It will take me a while to adjust. Of course my goal is to reach his pace as soon as possible. But it’s not automatic.
“You have to work hard for it. It is about analysing the data and learning how to drive that car.”
Having made the move to Renault earlier than anticipated, Sainz, who has 56 grand prix starts to his name, says the ‘head start’ will allow him to acclimatise to his new surroundings before his first full season with the team in 2018.
“I would not have minded finishing the season with Toro Rosso. But the early start can be very important,” Sainz added.
“It gives me an opportunity to get to know everything in the new team and to adapt the car to me.
“These four races will help me next year. And if I can get a few points for the team, that would be great.”