Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner is determined that Carlos Sainz Jr. will race for Scuderia Toro Rosso next year.
Sainz Jr. said yesterday at the FIA press conference ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix that a fourth year at Toro Rosso was “unlikely” and that he would look elsewhere if a seat at Red Bull isn’t available.
The 22-year-old Spaniard has made an impression in his 3 years at Toro Rosso, leading to speculation about a possible move away from Toro Rosso in 2018. Sainz currently sits ninth overall in the driver standings with 29 points, 25 more points than his team-mate Daniil Kvyat
But Horner told Sky Sports that Sainz Jr. is under contract for next year and they aim to keep him at Toro Rosso.
“He’s under contract. We’ve exercised his option as well, so he’s under contract,” said the Red Bull team boss.
“We have an option on him for next year and the year after, so he’ll be in a Toro Rosso again next year.”
Horner was informed of the comments Sainz made in the press conference yesterday about his future and responded with: “Well I don’t know where he thinks he’ll be then. Contracts are clear.”
“You have to remember, he only got an opportunity in Formula 1 because of Red Bull investing in him in his junior years. It’s a little disingenuous to be making comments like that. A lot of investment goes into these guys to give them an opportunity. Without Red Bull he wouldn’t be sitting in a Formula 1 car.”
There has been speculation over talks with Renault Sport Formula 1 Team about a loan move for Sainz Jr., but Horner has insisted that Red Bull would not consider it and believe Toro Rosso is the best place for his development.
“I can’t imagine that scenario. Toro Rosso are ahead of Renault at this point in time and doing a good job so it wouldn’t make sense to loan him out.”
Horner asked if Sainz had received a slap on the wrist for his comments, the Red Bull boss simply replied “He’s just had one.”