Toro Rosso will retain the services of Carlos Sainz for 2017 after a deal earlier in the year, but the highly rated Spaniard isn’t going to wait forever for Red Bull to promote him.
Sainz admits that 2018 might cause him to look elsewhere if Red Bull keep their strong line-up of Ricciardo and Verstappen. He said,
“It’s good to have a third driver like me waiting there in case something happens, but I cannot spend my whole life being the just in case option for Red Bull.
They understand this and I’m convinced they know, that’s why next year is an important year for me to hopefully create a good base and move up if Red Bull is willing to take me.
It would be a great pleasure, if not I’m sure they will understand I cannot spend my life being the third one.”
– Carlos Sainz
Toro Rosso’s season has lost momentum as the season progressed. Without any significant updates the team have fallen short in the development race. Sainz, who was becoming a regular points finisher in the 2016 season and impressed yet again.
This year has almost been a two-tier Formula in terms of development. Midfield drivers like Sainz, Kvyat and definitely the Renault and Sauber camps haven’t been able to put in any special performances as the lower-budget teams pour resources into 2017 preparations. Sainz will want to race in a team that can at least put a full-season program together in terms of commitment at some point in the future.
“I am pushing them, we are pushing all together, because I really want to have a competitive car next year with a competitive package, a competitive power unit, to be able to do some strong races and strong results, to be able to give Red Bull a good image.
A lot of people will be looking to take a step up and I would like to be at the top of that list.
– Carlos Sainz
The guy who has a bigger agenda than you think in the Red Bull team is Helmut Marko (Read Mark Webber’s book). He has two drivers in the team that are graduates of his junior programme, so unlike the inter-team battles when Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were at the team, Marko has what he wants at the minute.
This leaves Sainz in a difficult situation. As long as Ricciardo and Verstappen keep delivering, he will be out of contention for promotion. There are big shifts in other top teams expected for 2018. Ferrari have Sebastian Vettel to think about, the German has no contract renewal on the table for the 2018 season, and will probably have an Alonso-like release clause allowing him to move to the likes of Mercedes should the Ferrari be out of the title fight in 2017. If Carlos Sainz can retain his performance levels in the upcoming season, surely he’s going to attract the consideration of Ferrari.