Horner tells Sainz he will stay at Toro Rosso in 2018

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has responded to Carlos Sainz Jnr’s claim he is unlikely to be in a Toro Rosso next year by insisting he will remain at the team’s junior squad.

“He’s under contract,” Horner told Sky. “We’ve exercised his option as well so he’s under contract. We have an option on him for next year and the year after. He’ll be in a Toro Rosso again next year.”

Sainz told the media yesterday he does not expect to return for a fourth consecutive season at Toro Rosso. “Well I don’t know where he think he’ll be then,” said Horner in response.

“Contracts are clear. You have to remember these guys, he only got an opportunity in Formula One because of Red Bull investing in him in the junior years.”

“It’s a little disingenuous him to be making comments like that when a lot of investment goes into these guys to give them the opportunity. Without Red Bull he wouldn’t be sitting in a Formula One car.”

Horner said it was doubtful Red Bull would loan Sainz out to another team such as Renault. “I can’t imagine that scenario,” he said. “Toro Rosso are ahead of Renault at this point in time. They’re doing a good job so it wouldn’t make sense to loan him out.”

Horner also denied claims Red Bull’s victory in Baku would make it harder for their drivers to exercise an escape clause in their contracts as the team have fulfilled an obligation to provide a ‘race-winning car’.

“It doesn’t make any difference to the contracts,” he said. We’re very clear on who are drivers are for next year which are the same numbers that are on the car for this year.”

View the updated list of 2018 F1 drivers and teams

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

60 comments on “Horner tells Sainz he will stay at Toro Rosso in 2018”

  1. It’s not fair, he is more ready for Red Bull car than Max.

    1. hahaha you are cracking me up..

      1. Hahahaha indeed! +1

    2. Yeah that’s why Max beat him when they were team mates :D You don’t make any sense. Carlos is a great driver but both Max and Daniel are better. So as long as they are at Red Bull Racing, Sainz won’t be promoted.

      1. pastaman (@)
        7th July 2017, 12:23

        It’s a joke, calm down.

      2. JB22, mind you, in the one season where Sainz and Verstappen raced together, Sainz also had a higher retirement rate, and in several of those instances he retired from points scoring positions (for example, losing out on at least 10 points and 5th place in the Hungarian GP). If you take that into account, then the final difference in points would, although probably still being in Verstappen’s favour, be much closer overall than a quick glance at the points scores would suggest.

    3. I’m sticking my neck out here… But I believe Max is the best driver on the grid. However, he does need to mature into that driver. Like VET did.

      1. Andrew Purkis
        7th July 2017, 16:47

        bravest perhaps but thats till he has a big shunt or loses a few wins with his agressive style

        its controlled agression and calculated risks that win championships

        not ba llsy moves

        1. +1. Also his young age. I mean everyone is immortal at that age. Ur right one big accident and we will see what is what.

  2. GtisBetter (@)
    7th July 2017, 10:53

    Horner telling him how it is. Sounds like he wasn’t to happy with Sainz his comment.

    1. It’s entirely possible that Sainz’ comment pushed Horner into committing to have him driving next year.
      Plenty of drivers who have kept their mouth shut and just driven have found themselves being dumped near the end of the season when it’s too late even to look for another drive – and having spent time at TR, Sainz has had the opportunity to observe that close up.
      If you don’t put yourself on the market it signals you don’t value yourself; I don’t blame Sainz at all.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        7th July 2017, 11:59

        I think they are waiting to see what Max and Daniel will do after next year. If one of them leaves they can promote sainz. Good to have a plan B

      2. Plenty of drivers who have kept their mouth shut and just driven have found themselves being dumped near the end of the season when it’s too late even to look for another drive

        Yep, the Red Bull stable is pretty ruthless in its decision-making, making and breaking a long list of colts – Bourdais, Alguersuari, Buemi, Vergne, Kyvat – I think Vettel is the only one to have left the proving ground and had success.
        I’m not surprised Sainz is making some noise that he wants to step up, he’s very capable, though I think it’s telling but not surprising that Red Bull/Horner’s reacted quickly to quash ‘dissent’.

    2. And it’s a bit rich of Horner to call anyone disingenuous…

      1. Oh yes …

    3. I didn’t think Sainz comment was aggressive to the team or Horner at all. If anything, it seemed to me he was playing the Alguersuari card of “I got screwed by my team because they don’t like keeping drivers for more than 3 years”.

    4. @passingisoverrated I’m surprised by this reaction of Horner. He totally plays the loyalty ball here, while we all know Red Bull is the least loyal team out there. Just look at Kvyat, but also how people like Vergne and Alguersuari ended up.

      When it comes to the driver you have to be the most loyal figure you can think of, but when it comes to the team, they can drop you completely without any remorse.

      The only reason I can think of why this comment was made, is because Red Bull intends to drop Kvyat at the end of the season. I can see no other way around it. Both he and Sainz will not be promoted in the near future, but apart from Pierre Gasly there isn’t anyone in their talent pool ready for F1.

      It’s a real shame. Even though I think his career is being hurt by Verstappen’s performance, he deserves better than a 4th and 5th year at Toro Rosso. I’d love to see him next to The Hulk at Renault or replacing Massa at Williams now Stroll can be seen as a proper F1 driver.

      1. Nothing to do with loyalty, all to do with signing a piece of paper.

        And for all the RBR hate that exists without Red Bull money would Vettel, Ricciardo, Max, Sainz, Jev, Kvyat, Bourdais, Buemi or Alguesauri have been given an opportunity? Maybe max and Seb Vettel may have, but the rest? Unlikely. Not like we’ve seen a lineup of Ferrari juniors, of Mercedes juniors or Renault juniors who’ve been given a couple of seasons to prove their worth. So for all of the anti-RBR discussion all Horner has stated is the contract situation, and as the financial backer of Sainz to get him into F1 they have every right to.

        Do I think Sainz needs to be in a top team? Absolutely. But as everyone knows, unless RBR and especially Renault up their game next year Max is gone, maybe Danny too. So having Carlos do one more year with Toro Rosso and promoting him in 2019 makes sense for RBR. Makes sense to me too.

        1. Agreed. I don’t think he is setting the world on fire with his driving but like you stated he may get lucky in the future.

      2. They are loyal to their drivers in that they give their young drivers a chance and in fact are only putting their junior program drivers into their cars. They have more drivers than seats, so they obviously can’t keep them all in race seats forever. Those drivers know how it is when they sign up. Some of it will be luck. I thought they were a bit unfair to Buemi in particular.

        It’s a bit bizarre that Torro Rosso even exists. It’s kind of annoying to have a team which has no ambition but to be mediocre and only have junior drivers.

  3. Well, this is ho the Red Bill driver program works, once you sign with them, you are in their hands. And this year I think Carlos are a bit out of focus, even if he had some good results, he also had too many silly incidents. He should focus more in being solid and consistent and let his results help him move up his stock again. Right now he’s not showing he’s ready to be promoted to Red Bull .

  4. That “without Red Bull he wouldn’t be in F1” argument is so naive… what does it mean anyway? that he has to stay in the sister team forever because he has to be loyal to the guys that gave him the chance? you don’t make friends in F1…

    If Renault is a real possibility for Sainz, he should move there. There’s a much better chance to do something and build a career for himself than at Red Bull, where you’re tied to the decisions of Ricciardo and Verstappen but also Helmut Marko: he could easily drop him out of Toro Rosso without hesitating, and that pretty much closes ALL the doors to any other F1 team.

    1. it means, that they helped him out during the junior formulas, and brought him to F1, and because they did, he has a contract that has to be honoured, if there is an option on keeping his services either at RB or STR it has to be respected, if he doesn’t like it now, it is Sainz problem, surely wasn’t a barrier when he signed it to be in F1

      If a team wants him, they will have to buy out his contract.

      Like Horner or not, he is right this time. This is basically, shut up and drive, that is what we are paying you for.
      It is not about loyalty, it is about respecting his commitments.

      1. @johnmilk Horner only says this because Kvyat will be dropped at the end of this season, they will fill the vacant seat with Pierre Gasly and need an experienced driver to help Gasly up to speed. There’s literally nobody else in the RB Jr. program remotely ready for F1, so losing Sainz is not an option for the team. They would either have to promote a very junior driver, who possibly doesn’t even have the points for a super license, or otherwise they’d have to find someone from outside, which is highly unlikely for them since the last time that happened was with Bourdais in 2008/2009.

        1. @addvariety irrelevant, from the moment that Sainz has a contract with options that can be triggered by RB, the team has all the cards, and will play them as they wish.

          STR has had rookies line-ups before, I don’t even think that could be a problem. They just think Sainz is a talent that shouldn’t be in F1 if it isn’t with them. If the opportunity comes they will promote him, if it doesn’t, he either waits for a team to buy out his contract (unlikely, there are other fish in the sea) or wait until it ends, and this might as well be the end of 2019, since the option is for that year as well

    2. Horner is effectively telling Sainz to get back in his box because he has a contract. I see why he is saying that, but contracts in F1 aren’t ever really much comfort, they can always be got out of. I think that line is directed as much to the rival teams who would be interested in Sainz as it is to Sainz himself. It’s a line in the sand: Carlos is a Red Bull guy, hands off.

      To swing Horner’s argument around, I can’t see him and Helmut Marko saying “it’s ok Carlos, you have a contract for next year, don’t worry” if he was going out and binning he car every race.

    3. @fer-no65

      That “without Red Bull he wouldn’t be in F1” argument is so naive… what does it mean anyway?

      Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

      1. @Crom So you have to let that same hand slap you in the face?

        I’m sorry, but F1 these days is a one-way street. Drivers have to be loyal, cannot set a single foot wrong (look at Vettel recently, Kvyat last year) and obey their teams in every aspect. But when it comes to the team, they’ll drop you like you’re a nobody and never existed (Kvyat again, Alguersuari, Vergne all from RBR/STR).

        1. In the face, no. On the wrist, yes…

          Asked if Sainz Jr. will receive a ‘slapped wrist’, Horner said: “He’s just had one.”

          1. For me the first thing I thought of when I read Sainz verbiage on next year was, well it’s been nice knowing you then. And, like Horner said, where does he think he’s going then? I found it strange that he would come out of the blue and state something like this. Hey, if he’s unhappy, a team can’t force a driver to drive if they refuse, but shooting oneself in the foot publicly is not a good approach. If he can’t bring himself to drive another year at TR and ‘must’ be promoted to RBR, then he’s certainly cornered himself, but really these kinds of conversations that Sainz has started should be behind closed doors while he is contracted with them.

  5. Wouldn’t want to be Kvyat right now then….

    1. +1. I didn’t think a driver that gets promoted and them demoted would last this long in TR

    2. @bamboo Kvyat’s contract ends after this season.

      1. So … start looking for a new job.

  6. Good on Horner. Sainz is kicking against the foundation without proving he can. Loud comments about how he’s too good for STR without the driving to back it up. Horner is right to put him in his place.

  7. Red Bull can’t keep holding Sainz back. He won’t get in a Red Bull within the next two years and they can’t expect him to wait to see if Ricciardo or Verstappen leaves. Sainz will either go to McLaren or Renault.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      7th July 2017, 11:09

      Accoring to horner they can, cause that is what Sainz signed for.

      1. They have Gasly waiting in the wings for the Toro Rosso seat, maybe they’ll hang onto Kyvat and replace Sainz IF they get a good enough offer to buy him out.

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          7th July 2017, 11:57

          I haven’t watched any of the super formula races, but gasly never impressed me in gp2 and he doesn’t look to good in super formula. If any of the younger ones in the RB junior program step up I think gasly is gone.

          1. @passingisoverrated The rest is even further away from F1. And personally I think none of them is a talent like the current 4 RB drivers were at that time of their career.

          2. They can bring in Alonso. :)

    2. @davidtyrrell But Ric and Ver cannot leave, they also have contracts until 2019. ;-)

  8. It’s amazing how fine is the line between being “forced” to drive for a midfield team, presumably for one or two million dollars in compensation, and another having to pay $35 million for a seat.

  9. I can see both sides of the argument. Yes sainz is to good to stay in TR for another year. But I think he shouldn’t have said that to the press because one it doesn’t look good to the bosses to say bring me up to red bull or I’m out. At the end if the day Horner is right he has a contract and that’s the only thing that matters. Unless he buys himself out which would probably be close to Maldonado levels. It’s one of those things with red bull they own you for a long time, because they invested time and money into you.

  10. I know that Sainz has a contract or at least an option for the team to activate but for the sake of his career he needs to try and buy out the contract, or find grounds for it to be null. He has a comfy situation at TR and the Red Bull family have been kind and aided his development but another year in the midfield will only hurt him. Sainz cannot wait for Ric/Max to move because it sounds unlikely that neither of them will move. It would be the easy option for him to wait around for one of the Red Bull drivers to move but sometimes you have got to ‘grab the bull by the horns’.

    Where were Horner’s comments when Seb Vettel wanted to leave Red Bull? They helped him develop and gave him four world championships. Different circumstance I know but Horner didn’t exactly crack the whip like he has done with Sainz.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      7th July 2017, 12:19

      @ryandixon wow, is there an echo in this forum? I agree 100%. Sainz MUST move this year.

      In fact, I would prefer he leaves F1 or asks for a special title like 3rd Driver (not Test Driver) who essentially is guaranteed the spot if either driver leaves at the end of that season or is injured and gets similar treatment to actual drivers and gets the salary of a true top tier driver (money does help prove your worth even more than your performance).

      He could even drive for Toro Rosso and have the top driver contract.

      Okay, I’ll stay with Red Bull for another year but guarantee me a spot if anyone leaves, acknowledge me as a top driver and pay me the salary a top driver would get.

      He’s gotta find a way to promote himself to a top team, if only in the eyes of the paddock.

      1. @freelittlebirds I think Sainz missing out on a season would be the worse case scenario for him. Sitting on the sidelines, regardless of pay or driver status, would move him down the drivers pecking order; ultimately there is a risk that he loses all momentum and declines as a driver (extreme situation). I don’t necessarily think Sainz is chasing money or even the prestige of being called a ‘top driver’. I think he wants to be chasing for poles/podiums/wins.

        I think Sainz could fall into the Hulkenburg category of drivers; so close to a top drive but always so far.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          7th July 2017, 15:10

          @ryandixon I agree but what can a 4th season at Toro Rosso on current terms gain him? Most drivers who have been promoted never did more than 2 years as a driver. If he stays at Toro Rosso, he should get at least a written contract that he’ll get a seat at Red Bull if it becomes available and also get top driver contract.

          The money may not matter to him but it matters in terms of perception and even more so for a midfield driver. At most workplaces, people tend to value the employee they pay more money to.

          Essentially what he wants is a stamp from Red Bull saying that he’s a top team driver but they just don’t have room for him in the team.

          1. @freelittlebirds Staying at Toro Rosso is still a race seat, and a potentially good one, rather than sitting on his backside doing demo runs. Putting a clause in the contract saying he can drive for Red Bull could work but when would that be? It would be assumed with the ethos Red Bull has that he would be moved up anyways regardless of it being in writing.

            F1 isn’t like football (or soccer depending on location), drivers are less driven by money. If he was having a monetary crisis he would of said so. All noises coming from him is that he wants to be in a bigger team. If Sainz wanted a hug then he is in the wrong sport.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            7th July 2017, 16:24

            @ryandixon you’re right – it’s still a seat in F1. The contract would be important because it would allow Carlos to move to another team potentially or become more attractive if that is put in place and he’s allowed to publicize it. It would also prevent him from being passed over by another driver for whatever reason.

            The money is very important – you’re only as good as what they are willing to pay you! If you are getting the same money as Verstappen to drive for Toro Rosso then you’re obviously more than simply a Toro Rosso driver who ends in 15th place in the WDC.

            It’s also a decent consolation if you are making, say, 2-3 million dollars over 500k (just throwing out some numbers). Just curious, how much do the Toro Rosso drivers make?

          3. @freelittlebirds I have no exact idea on how much they make but the drivers salaries from 2014 have been published and the highest paid Toro Rosso driver was paid 750,000 euro (I don’t have the euro sign) which was on parity with Danny Ric (in his first year with Red Bull). This in comparison to Seb Vettel who was on 22m euro which I feel would be similar to what they will be on now (perhaps even less but still more than Ric first year). It would look bad on Sainz though if he has came out and said he needs to move for career progression and then to be placated by a pay rise and stay in limbo again.

    2. @ryandixon, whilst Horner wasn’t exactly happy about Vettel leaving the team, at the same time he was couldn’t really do anything as, by the time the team found out, Vettel already had the contract with Ferrari sorted.

  11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    7th July 2017, 12:12

    I think Horner has pretty much ensured that Carlos won’t be driving for Red Bull next year – if there was any doubt in Carlos’ mind before, it should all be gone now.

    Red Bull is not going to get rid of Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen for many years. He has to wait until they choose to leave Red Bull (which is more likely) or something happens to them (highly unlikely). That could easily be another 3 years for Daniel and another 5-10 years for Max.

    If Toro Rosso’s cars somehow ended up being faster than the Red Bull for the season, I imagine Carlos would be bumped to the slower car in the middle of the season. So there’s really no upside to continue driving for Toro Rosso.

    He can’t drive for Toro Rosso for 4 years. Everybody thinks that he deserves a better drive, well at least until the past 2 races, AND that is the danger of driving in a midfield team for half a decade. You could slip up a few times or things can happen right around silly season and you suddenly destroy your career.

    It’s a different thing to be good over 1 straight season, different to be good over 2 straight seasons, different to be good over 3 straight seasons and a totally different thing to be good over 4 straight seasons. It gets even harder if they change engines, have a huge re-design or you have 2-3 teammates like Verstappen or Kvyat.

    You roll the dice a hundred times, you are very likely to get some low numbers eventually.

  12. What happens guys if Ricciardo or Max goes. Ricciardo has been eyeing that Ferrari seat for a few years and rumour has it Jos threatened Red Bull to move Max to Mercedes if he was kept in Toro Rosso last year. It is very possible that one or both Red Bull seats will be open next year. Moving Sainz Jr. up would be the only option.

  13. Andrew Purkis
    7th July 2017, 16:52

    well if RBR produced a front running car i think hed be happy to wait for the opportunity if max or ric left

    its just sainz signalling hes a available to other teams

  14. The strange aspect of all of this is that everyone is very willing to promote (verbally) a surprising number of up and coming drivers, whether they be from the “testing” side or from the lesser formula, but until some of the senior drivers start retiring and staying retired, there won’t be enough seats for newcomers. In fact, there might not be any.
    I suspect that there might be one red, one yellow and at least one blue seat opening up. Just moving the players around, doesn’t create seats. Someone needs to get out of the sandbox.
    The silly season is upon us and “it’s going to be a bumpy ride…”. Can’t wait.
    Of course if BE was still running things, we would be salivating at the idea of 26 cars on the grid. Yeah right.

  15. Agreed even on here people adore him. Yet Perez with 7 midfield podiums is rubbish. Back to Sainz he is an ok driver not good enough for promoting.

    Perhaps he should stop reading his fans comments they could be misleading.

  16. agreed, he was probably better in his first 2 years with the team.

    This season he crashed into Stroll (Bahrain), took Massa out (Canada) and has been rather unimpressive in qualifying (only 4-4 with Kvyat, who is not a great qualifyier by any means). Maybe his lack of patience this year is getting the worse of him.

  17. “It doesn’t make any difference to the contracts,” he said. We’re very clear on who are drivers are for next year which are the same numbers that are on the car for this year.”

    Considering the context that this article is about Sainz at Torro Rosso, would it be right to assume that by this, Christian means that Kyvat will also be driving next year? It just seems odd that in the context of this being about Sainz and Torro Rosso that he would only referring to the main Red Bull team.

Comments are closed.