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