As Mercedes ponders its future driver for 2017, some fans feel that Carlos Sainz would be a good fit and in many ways, I have to agree if it weren’t for the 2017 contract extension the Spaniard signed earlier this year.
When Max Verstappen was picked, over Sainz, to replace Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull’s top team, there were many who felt that Sainz deserved the role instead of the Dutch teenager. That may or may not be as Verstappen has proven very capable of not only running with his teammate Daniel Ricciardo but just about every other driver, including champions, on the grid.
Still, the move did leave a mark on the psyche of Sainz as he told Autosport:
“I tried to show a lot of strength but it was a difficult moment, obviously, because you don’t like being overlooked by someone,” Sainz said.
“People talked about how difficult it was for Kyvat but people thought it was easy for me also.
“They didn’t take into account that it was also a difficult moment for me, that I had to react and I had to suddenly take the attention of Red Bull.
“I said to myself, ‘I will prove you wrong’ and then my best three races in Formula 1 came directly after that and a contract arrived in Baku and I signed it immediately.”
The fact is, Sainz has made his own mark on the psyche of Formula 1 in the 2016 season. He raised his game and has put in some terrific performances. Truth be told, if Mercedes were looking for a driver who is more experienced than their two junior drivers, Esteban Ocon and Pascal Werhlein, Sainz would be a great choice and more than likely, a driver who can deliver a steady stream of points.
The issue here isn’t just finding a driver, the driver Mercedes needs is a points-scoring machine like Nico Rosberg was if they have any hope of claiming another Manufacturer’s Championship. They’ll need someone solid and that’s why some say Valtteri Bottas is high on their list. Sainz may have been as well but getting out of the Toro Rosso contract may be just a tricky as Botta’s Williams F1 contract but the big difference is that Mercedes supply engines to Williams and the team may be very interested in a highly reduced price tag for their engine supply in return for releasing Bottas. Totor Rosso doesn’t use Mercedes engines so there’s no bargaining chip there and possibly no future for Sainz at Merc.
Hat Tip: Autosport