Keen race driver breeder and bull jizzum advocate Helmut Marko isn’t afraid of picking favourites within the Red Bull/Toro Rosso camp, but his recent public criticism of Carlos Sainz is out of order. It’s also the biggest indicator that the promising Spaniard is heading to another team next season.
Sainz is hot property at the moment, with a number of teams allegedly interested in his services for 2018, but Red Bull’s motorsport boss Helmut Marko has hit back at Sainz’ comments regarding deciding his own future.
“I think he’s a bit confused. I can see it in his driving.
He’s made some silly mistakes this season already. The contract is crystal clear.
You know in Austria we say ‘you don’t bite the hands which feeds you.’ And it was Mr [Dietrich] Mateschitz and me who pushed Sainz into Toro Rosso.
Nobody else would give him a chance. We sent him a letter saying that we take the option, and as far as I know, and as long as I’ve been in Red Bull, the driver doesn’t decide what they’re doing with the contract.
It’s up to the boss, and he makes the decisions.
I think he should focus on driving. The last couple of races, [Daniil] Kvyat always outqualified him.”
– Helmut Marko
We absolutely agree with the sentiment ‘you don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ in that Sainz collected almost double the points that Kvyat managed last season for Toro Rosso, helping the team beat Haas in the Constructors and coming close to catching McLaren in 6th. This year, without Sainz’ 29-points, Toro Rosso would already be languishing in 9th in the Constructors on 4-points. Marko’s comments suggest that in his three-years with the team, Sainz has been sitting on his hands rather than performing as the asset he has been to the team.
Helmut Marko later admitted in his comments that he is yet to talk to the driver about this. What does it say about his character that he will go to the mainstream media and publicly blast his driver before talking to him behind closed doors first?
Sainz has the talent to compete in a top team and has stated often that he wants to race for Red Bull Racing before any other top-tier team, so the wheels on the accusation of disloyalty fall off there.
The emphasis on the corporate aspect of the team owning a driver as if they are a slave shows the ugly side of the sport, and the aggressive public criticism of Sainz is a clear negotiation tactic to defer other teams from contacting the driver.
The Red Bull family already have the advantage of four drivers on the F1 grid, and shouldn’t be worried about Sainz departing. Pierre Gasly is waiting in the wings and would do well at Toro Rosso. The parent team also have two of the best drivers on the grid with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, the team have a monopoly in Motorsport, and to pull up the fact that they’ve funded Sainz’ junior career as a point for keeping him ignores the insane revenues the brand makes with its presence across Motorsport.
The shaken nature of the response from Marko and Christian Horner, who has echoed the sentiment along with Franz Tost, actually serves to suggest that they are all worried that Sainz will be moving on in 2018 if there isn’t a seat at Red Bull available, and why shouldn’t he?