Over the last two weeks, there have been lots of speculation about the Red Bull drivers with many rumors suggesting that Max Verstappen is moving to Ferrari for 2018 and Daniel Ricciardo also moving to Ferrari along with Perez and others but that implies Ferrari will not stay with Kimi Raikkonen, something the Scuderia isn’t talking about in the press.
For Red Bull’s part, team boss Christian Horner was keen to squelch those rumors suggesting that Max’s contract is ironclad but now the sister team is having its share of rumors as well.
This week, Carlos Sainz suggested that he may not be at Toro Rosso for 2018 and this has prompted a stinging response from Red Bull’s motorsport program boss, Helmut Marko:
“I think he’s a bit confused,” he told Sky Sports News.
“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.”
Many suggest that contracts aren’t worth the paper they are written on when it comes to Formula 1 drivers but that’s not entirely true. What many fans may not be aware of is that when a driver with a contract does move and seemingly breaks their contract, that is usually a buy-out from the acquiring team or a performance clause that the driver executed so contracts do mean something in F1.
For Marko, it is a question of not being committed to a team that created Carlos’s entire career.
“It’s not a decision from Carlos Sainz, he has a Red Bull contract and Red Bull decides what he will do in the future,” Tost said.
“I’m a bit confused about this discussion at this stage of the year because Red Bull has financed the complete career of Carlos.
“It paid for his [Formula] BMW season, Formula Renault then Formula 3, GP3, [Formula Renault] 3.5 and three years in F1.
“Why should Red Bull give him away now to any other opponent?
“Sometimes loyalty should play an important game.”
Time will tell but Red Bull have four unhappy drivers. Two at Red Bull who have a car incapable of racing and beating Ferrari and Mercedes and two drivers at the sister team with no line of sight to career advancement with a move to the big team.
If rumors are correct regarding Max and Ferrari, then perhaps the Carlos Sainz issue gets answered relatively quickly.
Hat Tip: Autosport
Sainz has had one too many “whoopsie” moments to be talking a lot of smack. It’s the story of F1: Far too many good drivers for far too few seats at competitive teams. Either RIC or VER are going to be going away in the next few years to either Ferrari or Mercedes. He needs to shut up and prove himself and show some respect to the team that’s put him where he is.
It’s interesting with both Sainz and Kyvat in STR. Up until now STR has been a conveyor belt, leading either to RBR (Vettel, Ricciardo, Kyvat, Verstappen), or the door (Liuzzi, Speed, Bourdais, Buemi, Algeursuari, JE Vergne), some stayed in STR for ne season, some for two, a couple for three, but none for four. Most of the STR rejects have gone on to so great things in other series, but not into other F1 teams. It looks like STR have an excess of success to manage, both Sainz and Kyvat are good enough for RBR, or another F1 team, but… Read more »
Paul Velasco (GP247) has quoted the independent newspaper (British) who in turn quoted a paddock source as saying that Verstappen has actually asked RB to release him one year before his contract ends so as he can join FERRARI.
The article claims it is a matter of when the move will happen and not if.
Read my post above, The Sainz camp spread this rumour to disrupt the relationship between Verstappen and Red Bull. none of it is true.
This is not the full extent of the story. The independant (UK ‘newspaper’) broke a story that Max Verstappen requested Red Bull to release him to Ferrari, wich was then taken over by some news outlets. As it turned out that story was leaked by the Sainz camp and spanish newspaper Marca to The Insependant to make it seem the story came from the UK. This happend on friday before the Austian GP. The Sainz camp spread these rumours to disrupt the relationchip between Red Bull and the Verstappen camp in the hope Max would leave and Carlos could move… Read more »
I don’t really think it’s “low”. When you’re trapped, you look for any way out. If Red Bull is going to act as if it “owns” its drivers, they can’t be surprised by at an uprising or two.
I think it’s pretty low when you try to disrupt a relationship between a driver and his team just because you want the seat.
And no one forced him to sign the contract, and he knew at the time Max and Daniel waren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Red bull don’t own him, but he did willingly sign a contract with them.
Red Bull act as if they own him. Champions don’t wait for things to come to them. They go get them. In any other arena I would probably agree with you. But the F1 circus encourages this kind of behavior. Sainz has little prospect of moving up at Red Bull, but Red Bull don’t want him to go anywhere else because they don’t want their competitors to have him. He signed his contract in 2014 (with Red Bull, not RBR or STR) if not earlier, when Verstappen was still racing F3. He certainly didn’t expect Red Bull Junior Team driver… Read more »
He renew his contract early last year, after Verstappen had moved to Red Bull. So he was fully aware of the situation.
Red Bull exercised their option to retain him. That’s not the same thing as re-signing.
Helmut Marko: “As far as I know – and since I have been in Red Bull it has been like this – it is not the driver who decides what happens with the contract,”
Sound like indentured servitude to me.
regardless of whether the rumor is true or not, the mere discussion is potentially bad for Red Bull long term. Their driver program is going to suffer if it’s known that you can’t ever drive for another team in F1. Their pipeline will slowly move to mediocrity as truly talented drivers (or at least those who think they are that talented) avoid Red Bull to make sure they keep their options open.