Carlos Sainz Jr., now in his third Formula One season, understandably is tired of waiting in the wings to get a call from Red Bull Racing. But he probably should tread lightly, otherwise the call he gets could be to tell him he’s out of a job.
The Spaniard’s recent suggestion that he doesn’t want to return to Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2018 has prompted fiery responses from Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, and motorsport advisor, Dr. Helmut Marko, according to Sky Sports.
Sainz told reporters Thursday that his primary goal still is to use Toro Rosso as a stepping stone to get to Red Bull — which has no opening for 2018 — but he’s “unlikely” to spend a fourth year with the Italian team and is open to exploring other options.
“I don’t know where he thinks he’ll be then,” Horner told Sky Sports. “Contracts are clear.”
The 22-year-old Sainz’s contract was set to expire ahead of 2017, but Red Bull picked up an option to retain him. Horner confirmed that he has similar options in place for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Red Bull team boss also called Sainz’s comment “disingenuous,” noting that the young driver program largely is responsible for his making it to F1. The program sees Red Bull back racers early in their careers, both to invest in talent as soon as Marko spots it, and to alleviate the financial strain on drivers — a major limiting factor in motorsports.
That fact reportedly didn’t go unnoticed by Marko, either.
“The contract is crystal clear. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” Marko said. “It was (Red Bull owner) Mr. Mateschitz and I who pushed Sainz into Toro Rosso, nobody else would give him a chance.”
Sainz, the son of former rally champion Carlos Sainz, really must have hit Marko’s pressure point, as he made another dig at the driver as well. Marko said he told the younger Sainz that they can talk about his leaving if Scuderia Ferrari asks to sign him, but Ferrari expressed no interest when he met with its team boss on Saturday, adding “Maybe it is the father who is dreaming more.”
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool