In Thursday’s driver’s press conference, Toro Rosso driver, Carlos Sainz, stated that his number one intention is to be at the senior team, Red Bull Racing next year, but he is aware that the current drivers in the team are tied into a contract for next year.
Sainz has been linked in the media with drives at Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault as well as a potential shift to McLaren if they change power unit supplier, as expected.
He is widely regarded as being on par with his ex-teammate Max Verstappen and, therefore, worthy of a place on the shopping lists of the top teams.
As such, he made himself available for a drive, claiming it was “unlikely” he will drive for Toro Rosso next year. Being the junior team, it would be unheard of for a driver to spend a fourth year there, but Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner is adamant that Sainz will be staying put.
In an interview with Sky Sports F1, Horner said “He’s under contract, we’ve exercised his option as well so he’s under contract. We have an option on him for next year and the year after. He’ll be in a Toro Rosso again next year.”
Told about the comments Sainz made in the presser, Horner appeared surprised and restated that this crop of contracts is solid and only the team can break them. He doesn’t foresee a situation where Red Bull choose to loan Sainz out either, shutting down speculation that he could occupy a potentially vacant seat at Renault whilst remaining attached to the Red Bull stable.
Clearly cross at Sainz’ willingness to inflame this speculation, he finished by saying “Contracts are clear. You have to remember these guys, he only got an opportunity in Formula One because of Red Bull investing in him in the junior years.
“It’s a little disingenuous him to be making comments like that when a lot of investment goes into these guys to give them the opportunity. Without Red Bull, he wouldn’t be sitting in a Formula One car.”
Strong words from the boss man, but can he hold on to this one?