Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner says the squad are not in the game of just giving their drivers away, when explaining why they have only loaned Carlos Sainz Jr. to the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in 2018.
The Spaniard will remain under the Red Bull umbrella despite driving for the French squad next year, ensuring that the Milton Keynes squad still have an option on the 23-year-old in the future.
Sainz Jr. has been loaned out to Renault as part of the deal to allow Scuderia Toro Rosso to terminate their power supply partnership with the French manufacturer, and switch to Honda engines instead from 2018.
The Spaniard will replace Jolyon Palmer and line-up alongside Nico Hulkenberg next season, making for a formidable line-up, as Renault look to up their game in 2018.
However, when speaking to Sky Sports recently, Horner insisted that no matter what happens, Sainz Jr. will remain a part of the Red Bull family, and they will get first choice on the Spaniard going forward.
That is an option that may well be exercised by Red Bull, should current drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen be tempted to head to pastures new when their contracts come to an end in 2019.
With the recent announcement from Renault, that they will be terminating their contract with the Milton Keynes based squad at the end of next year, losing their star drivers could be a very real possibility for Red Bull, so they need to ensure they have all avenues open to them.
“We’ve had a lot of requests for a lot of our drivers and it seems to change on a daily or weekly basis.
“When the music stops it will become clear but we need to be patient.
“They are not available, they can be loaned out or rented but they can’t be given away. That is something that won’t be happening.
“If anything happens with Sainz, he will be very firmly part of the Red Bull family.”