As Haas faltered at the start of the season, with a number of high profile retirements, Renault made hay to emerge comfortably best of the rest in the constructors’ standings come the French Grand Prix in June, clocking up 62 points in that period as Haas languished in seventh with just 27.
And athough they’ve held onto that fourth place, Renault have added just 20 points to their tally in the subsequent five races compared to Haas’ 49, bringing the points difference between the two teams down to just six heading into the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
However, Sainz maintains that with the upgrades his team will bring before the end of the season, Renault can stay ahead of Haas by the time the chequered flag falls in Abu Dhabi.
“From Singapore onwards, we're going to have a better car,” said Sainz. “I think we're going to have a better package for the tracks that are coming. For the following races, we will bring a few aero bits, a few mechanical bits for the car, because we know if we don't, that P4 in the constructors' is going to be challenging. Very challenging.
“But I really trust this team and I really trust the people here. I really trust what we are bringing. It doesn't mean we are going to achieve [P4], but I fully believe that we have the right people and the right upgrades and the right things coming to defend from them – and we also have the right drivers! It's not going to be easy, and [Haas] have a faster car than us at most of the tracks, but we'll still come back and fight it.”
Over in the rival camp, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was also cautious about assuming his team’s current momentum meant that they were a cert for fourth in the teams’ race.
“I think it will be a big battle because [Renault] are a good team,” he said. “It's our own fault if we find ourselves in this position [behind Renault] and we are well aware of this, so we're not trying to blame anybody for this. But we do our utmost to catch them and they will do their utmost to keep us behind. I hope it will be a fair and nice battle.”