Winning the Formula 1 driver's championship "is a distant dream" for anyone who doesn't drive for Ferrari or Mercedes, Spain's Carlos Sainz Jr. said here Wednesday ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
"Right now the dream of winning a world title is far away. I think that if you are not in Ferrari or Mercedes, winning the world title is a bit difficult," he told EFE.
Sainz, who is leaving Renault at the end of the year to join McLaren, said that he does next expect to be competing for podium places next season.
Now 12th in the driver's standings, Sainz's best performance in 79 Grand Prix races is a 4th place finish.
McLaren, he said, "has gone through a difficult year," but the experience has helped the team "to learn, reset a bit and start again from scratch."
He said that signing with McLaren, where compatriot Fernando Alonso failed in his bid for a third world championship, was a safe bet because it is "the second most prestigious team in Formula 1 (after Ferrari)."
Sainz, 24, will compete with McLaren for his fifth F1 season after stints with Toro Rosso and Renault.
The driver downplayed criticism concerning the lack of excitement around the sport in recent years.
"Formula 1 has always been dominated by some individual team," he said, adding that this season has been "entertaining" thanks to the battle for the title between a pair of four-time champions: Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Germany's Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari).
Hamilton clinched his fifth championship two weeks ago in the Mexican Grand Prix.