Carlos Sainz Jnr, Renault, Monaco, 2018

Why Ricciardo’s obvious replacement may not get the gig

2019 F1 season

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On the face of it, Daniel Ricciardo’s shock move to Renault for the 2019 F1 season could be expected to have only a limited impact on the driver market.

In the shape of Carlos Sainz Jnr Red Bull has an obvious replacement in waiting. Last October Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described him as the team’s “safety net” in case Ricciardo walked.

Sainz did a superb job last year, scoring all bar five of Toro Rosso’s 53 points before being loaned out to Renault, where he’s been ever since. With Ricciardo now on his way to the French manufacturer, the obvious move for Red Bull is to recall the 23-year-old and give him his shot in a front-running team.

But when Red Bull responded to the news of Ricciardo’s impending departure, which RaceFans broke this morning, there was no confirmation of a place for Sainz.

“We will now continue to evaluate the numerous options available to us before deciding on which driver partners Max Verstappen for the 2019 season,” said team principal Christian Horner.

It is unusual for Red Bull to be caught on the hop with a driver announcement. In 2014 they pre-empted the shock news of Sebastian Vettel’s defection to Ferrari by announcing Daniil Kvyat as his replacement.

The lack of a similar announcement regarding Sainz indicates we won’t see his number 55 on the nose of a Red Bull-Honda RB15.

Why might that be? Relations between the Sainz and Verstappen camps during their year-and-a-bit alongside each other at Toro Rosso were not exactly cordial.

It can’t have helped matters that Sainz, a long-time Red Bull Junior Team member, was beaten to an F1 seat by Verstappen, who Red Bull hurriedly signed in 2014. There was further friction last year when Sainz made comments about his future at Toro Rosso which were strongly rebuffed by Horner – and later turned out to have been accurate.

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Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Hungaroring, 2018
Pierre Gasly
Red Bull’s motorsport director Helmut Marko is understood to be against reuniting the two drivers. With Verstappen already committed to the team, the implications for Sainz are obvious. This would explain why he has been in talks with McLaren.

Instead Pierre Gasly is expected to emerge as the top candidate to replace Ricciardo. The 2016 GP2 (now Formula Two) champion is well-liked by the team and will have a year’s experience of working with Red Bull’s incoming engine supplier Honda at the end of this season.

Gasly has got the job done under trying circumstances this year. His sixth-place finish at the Hungaroring last weekend could not have been more timely. An excellent fourth in the Bahrain Grand Prix stands as Honda’s best result since returning to F1 three years ago.

But promoting Gasly from Toro Rosso would leave Red Bull needing at least one more driver for its ‘kindergarten’ team in 2019. Dan Ticktum, the highest-ranked driver in its Junior Team, who was unable to participate in this week’s test for the team due to the lack of an A Licence, is unlikely to have the necessary superlicence points to make his debut next year.

Red Bull therefore may have to look further afield. It is known to have already approached McLaren about running its young talent Lando Norris. With McLaren eager to get its hands on Toro Rosso design James Key with minimal delay, a mutually satisfying agreement may be in the offing.

Which of the McLaren drivers would have to make way for Sainz becomes the next question. But McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown admitted last weekend they are interested in bringing him onboard.

“He is certainly someone who, as you go down the shortlist of drivers that you consider putting in a race car, if he was free and if we had a seat, would certainly be high up on the considerations.”

Following today’s news, there is no longer any doubt that Sainz is a player in the F1 driver market for 2019.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

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  • 82 comments on “Why Ricciardo’s obvious replacement may not get the gig”

    1. I wish he’d get the RBR-driver for next season vacated by Ricciardo. That’d be very interesting.

    2. I just heard that Sainz was offered the seat at RB but due to the negotiations with McLaren already being all but done he chose to follow that path. Which means Sainz prefers being number two to Alonso over being number two to Verstappen, which as they’re mates makes sense, but doesn’t half speak in favour of his ambition.

      1. @hahostolze well, maybe he sees Alonso leaving soon, so he’d be number one after he goes?… I can’t see any reason why anyone would chose the second seat at McLaren anyway, it’s odd to chose them over Red Bull at this stage.

        1. I can see a reason one would chose McLaren over RBR – Honda. Maybe they’ve made great strides with Torro Rosso, but it wasn’t that long ago that they weren’t finishing races. It’s still a considerable gamble for RBR.

          1. @knewman yeah but look at McLaren’s situation… they have James Key in gardening leave so no input for next year, and Matt Morris resigned on the spot once Key’s move was announced. They are still reorganizing the team after Boullier’s departure too… too many unknowns there, Red Bull Honda seems a safer bet.

            1. And do not forget, the Renault engine is not on par and very unreliable.

          2. What “great strides”?

            Honda have already supplied 11 ICE’s to just 2 cars in 2018.
            Renault have supplied 15 ICE’s to their 3 teams / 6 cars combined.

            All Renault teams are an average of 0.2sec per lap faster in 2018 then they were in 2017, relative to all teams and averaged for the season so far.
            Toro Rosso are 0.3sec per lap slower than they were last year in the same calculation, now that they have Honda “power”.

            1. You make an interesting point. An explanation could be that the TR is basically a test mule for RB. Engine changes could speed up development. But it certainly seems that Honda still has catching up to do.

            2. WoW!!! very clarifying post. Nonetheless the future is not looking good either way. Being drag by the poor McLaren chassis or by the poor Honda engine. It seems that next year Haas is the best option for Sainz, if that could be possible.

      2. I just heard that Sainz was offered the seat at RB but due to the negotiations with McLaren already being all but done he chose to follow that path. Which means Sainz prefers being number two to Alonso over being number two to Verstappen – Hahaha. Just stop this hearsay already. Where exactly did he hear this? Probably at his weekly orange-fan-club-meeting.

        @fer-no65
        I can’t see any reason why anyone would chose the second seat at McLaren anyway, it’s odd to chose them over Red Bull at this stage. – It never happened. It’s just orange propaganda from hahostolze.

        1. How so? Both reasons given by Hahostolze (Alonso retiring earlier and his bad relationship with VER) seem quite plausible reasons to me.

    3. Which leads to another big question… who would Sainz replace at McLaren? Alonso to the US?

    4. Gasly has done well, but is he ready for Red Bull? the main team is a different beast to Toro Rosso, and if we consider what happened to Kvyat, I think it’s risky for both parties to join Red Bull after just 1 year. Specially for Gasly, though, unlike Kvyat, he doesn’t have much competition in Red Bull’s driver development programme…

      Sainz would be the better option in my view, but if reports are correct, they don’t want him. I guess they also saw him behind Nico Hulkenberg for much of the season so why would they want a driver that was beaten by his team mate anyway? but hey! they re-hired Hartley, and gave Kvyat way too many opportunities, so they could well get Sainz for just one more year before promoting Gasly.

    5. Does this assume Hartley remains on at Toro Rosso? What happens to Checo and Ocon if Force India folds? Is it likely Force India will fold if others continue playing hardball?

      1. Joe Saward seems to think that the other teams don’t actually have a say at the minute in whether FI gets to keep it’s rights to the prize pot moving forward. And with Toto seemingly very involved with the sale of FI, I would think it is likely that they will be saved – plus Mercedes need to keep their customers to ensure they have a collective power when it comes to agreeing the next set of commercial terms with Liberty. The question is would Perez have done what he did without assurances from some other party coming in that he at least has first refusal of a seat in 2019? Is £4m worth more to him than an F1 drive at a decent team?

    6. Alonso or Kubica to Red Bull would be interesting, any of the other interchangeable generic teens/20 something’s would be boring…

      1. Last driver that Red Bull put into a seat without being part of their young driver programme… Mark Webber.

        1. Verstappen, actually.

          1. If I remember correctly he was assigned to the junior team before he debuted with Toro Rosso, even if between those two points only a few months passed. And even then he had to drive one year for Toro Rosso, so I’d say it was a different situation to that of Webber.

            1. Exactly. Also with Max’s age there wasn’t exactly plenty of time to build a career before joining as did Webber.

              Regards it doesn’t seem that surprising to me a Sainz-Alonso trade, thing os both Alonso and RBR are PR machines and Alonso’s wage is quite substantial

      2. The same Kubica who was passed up recently by two different teams in favour of Sainz and Sirotkin? I’m all for a return but he needs to prove himself first before being dropped into one of the most prized seats.

    7. Gasly to RBR & Sainz to McLaren seem the best scenario for all sides.
      Sainz can spend a year with his idol & good friend Alonso, and its highly likely that 2019 will be Alonso’s last season, so he will be more open in giving away infos regarding set up etc. Their relationship can be like the one Schumi & Massa had in 2006. Sainz pretty much lost any chance of getting a RBR seat last year, during the Renault negotiations. If we take into account the “fragile” relationship he had with Verstappen at STR, he isnt No1 candifate for STR.
      On the other hand, Gasly is pretty young & F1 inexperienced, but the main difference with Kvyat’s case, is the teammates they had as a competitor.
      Kvyat showed some good signs in 2014, but he was easily outpaced( 22-8 in points) by a strong driver(Vergne).
      Gasly has throghoutly demolished Hartley(26-2 in midpoint) but Hartley isn’t as strong as JEV. Honda knowledge might prove to be a big asset in Gasly’s favor.

    8. Vertappen and Gasly are a way too young pairing. And watch two teenagers fighting for things they believe they are entitled to…
      I’m no fan of Fernando, but would be great to see him on that seat.

      1. It would be great to see Alonso alongside Verstapen, but it’s very likely that Gasly will take the place.

      2. Alonso and Verstappen would be an absolutely titanic pairing, and really show how serious Red Bull are as front-running contenders. Plus, as mentioned above, they’re two very young drivers. You can’t help but feel Verstappen and Gasly doesn’t quite have that same bite and ambition to it.

        Another year at Toro Rosso would be good for Gasly to avoid a Kvyat situation. Plus, as many have mentioned, Alonso doesn’t have many years left in him, so provided Gasly keeps up the good form at Toro Rosso, that seat would likely be his in 2020.

        1. Why would Honda let Alonso join them, though? no way in hell… plus he’s also driving for Toyota. He burned his bridges there… besides, I doubt Red Bull would chose him anyway.

        2. Alonso/Verstappen would be incredible, but sadly Honda don’t power every dream.

      3. @edmarques Yeah that does sound like a great “experiment”.

        I doubt that Alonso would wish to drive a Honda powered car again though. Or that Honda would like a Honda powered car to be driven by Alonso.

      4. Alonso and Honda together again? C’mon…

        1. If Alonso goes to IndyCar, likely Andretti, he will be powered by Honda.

    9. @edmarques There are far too many complications for Alonso to ever go to Red Bull

      -Would he swallow his pride and go to a team that is about to partner with Honda?
      -Would Honda be happy with Red Bull signing a driver who so publically criticised them at every oppourtunity?
      -Would Red Bull (Marko) abandon it’s approach of only promoting drivers up from it’s own program, as others have pointed out, Webber was last driver they signed from outside the Red Bull junior camp
      – Would Alonso’s WEC deal with Toyota even allow him to drive and conduct promotion for a Honda powered team? Don’t forget, Alonso’s Wec deal only came together because McLaren shifted to Renault engines.

      From what I’ve read before, Alonso wouldn’t be signed by any of the top 3 teams. Ferrari because of his previous stint and public critiscm of them, Mercedes he’s out of favour with the executives because his first stint at McLaren and Spygate (when Merc were still a shareholder in the team), and Red Bull see him as a too political figure and someone who’d conflict with their image and branding.

    10. I’m seeing Verstappen paired with Hartley (he seems more patient than Gasly when it comes to engine development, even though not being as quick, and seems a better choice for #2 driver) in RBR, Gasly and Norris (on loan from McLaren, which gets James Key) in TR, Sainz and Vandoorne in McLaren… Alonso in Ferrari would be nice, and with Marchionne’s (sad and premature) departure, weirder things have happened…

    11. All this boils down to is that Alonso is now confirmed for 2019. And that makes me happy.

    12. Alonso would be a good choice, he’d probably drive for free such is his desperation to get a front running car.

      1. It’s to be seen if the RB15 will be a front running car in 2019.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          4th August 2018, 5:13

          Knowing Alonso’s fortune, RBR will drop substantially and then rebound when he leaves.

      2. Alonso will not be driving a RBR next or any other year, paid of for free (don’t be ridiculous). 2019 will be his last season in F1 alongside Sainz in the McLaren.

        1. I agree, Alonso and Saintz for 2019, Saintz and Norris for 2020. VanD moves to Sauber with Latifi, Leclerc to Haas – bye-bye KMag.

      3. Alonso alongside Verstappen would simply be fantastic for F1.

        Please make it happen Dieter.

    13. For Toro Rosso I think a Norris-Gasly pairing would be the best choice. Who to put in the second Red Bull though?

      Alonso and Kubica that are mentioned above would be cool, but what about Raikkonen? He’s been sponsored by them before, and it would be decent to have Kimi support Verstappen for a year while Red Bull evaluate whether to promote Norris or Gasly for 2020.

      1. @adrianmorse yeah but would Ferrari release him? I think they’ll offer him another year… and Kimi would probably chose Ferrari over Red Bull, why change teams at this stage in his career?

        1. @fer-no65, yes, I was assuming Ferrari would hire Leclerc, but thinking about it a bit more, when have Ferrari fielded a young driver? I guess Kimi, in 2007, and Vettel were among their youngest hires. They do have a record of keeping older drivers who the fans believe are past their sell-by-date, and actually Kimi is driving very well this year.

          1. when have Ferrari fielded a young driver? I guess Kimi, in 2007, and Vettel were among their youngest hires

            Even then RAI had been in a few title fights, and VET had won 4.

      2. Nice thought but I cannot imagine Ferrari will promote Leclerc already in 2019. Kimi would be a great no2 driver at RBR but I think he will stay at Ferrari.

        1. So… Leclerc to Redbull?

          1. 2 drivers with schumacher-like potential like verstappen and leclerc at red bull? Why not!

    14. Exciting news for RIC today, and certainly adds to an already interesting “silly season”.

      I look forward to seeing advertisements with Daniel drinking Estrella 0.0 out of a fancy shoe. Maybe they can even come out with a limited-release of shoe-shaped bottles!

      1. Isn’t Estrella a Sainz sponsor?

    15. Can perfectly understand why Sainz would want to get out of RB, they’ve shown many times with Webber, Kvyat, Vergne and now Ricciardo himself that they are unable to treat more than one driver decently. They haven’t exactly treated Carlos nicely in the past anyway. I think Sainz to Mclaren, Gasly to RBR (where I hope and believe he’ll give the hype machine a good fight), and I’d like to see Vergne back in at STR – should never have been dropped, but unfortunately I think that is unlikely. Would never like to see Ticktum get anywhere near an F1 seat.

      1. Or Vergne to RBR! Wowie that would be a stunner.

      2. What exactly did they do wrong with carlos? Some people keep popping up these remarks without any substance.

        1. Carlos was paired with Max(Dr.Helmuttenhead’s favourite) and didn’t get a fair shake at STR.

    16. I would love to see Alonso get that seat, but it’s going to be Gasly for sure and to be honest after his performances this year I have no problem with that.

    17. Man, I love the silly season!

    18. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      3rd August 2018, 19:56

      I’m unsure about who should go to Red Bull. It is a bit too soon to go for Gasly. It is unlikely that moving as soon as this will always result like Verstappen did. I’m also slightly against Sainz although he is a better option than Gasly. I personally don’t see much signs of improvement since Sainz first came into F1. In fact last year, although he scored many points, he was extremely inconsistent and had 2 incidents that were far more dangerous than the type Verstappen has had this year that he was deemed at fault for. He also caused 5 retirements last year. More than any other driver on the grid.

      Since being at Renault, I think he’s usually looked worse off than Hulkenberg, although sometimes better. But I don’t rate Hulkenberg that highly. I still think he’s good and solid, but think Perez is better and even a few years back, I still though Bottas was better than these 2. And since the start of this year, I think Bottas has upped his game a bit. The fact that Sainz generally looks worse than Hulkenberg doesn’t look great to me. I think that Verstappen has improved throughout his career significantly more than Sainz has. I get the feeling that the gap between them two if they were in Red Bull would be pretty huge. Sainz IMO has a qualifying weakness. Unless Kvyat was very good in this area. Because in Kvyat’s qualifying sessions he has last year, Kvyat and Sains had the 2nd smallest average qualifying gap between the drivers. Was under 0.050 I think. I get the feeling that Red Bull are not that likely to get him. McLaren may seem risky, but we should always allow a team 1 year to get used to a new engine. McLaren clearly couldn’t get along with Honda as it didn’t take them just a year to get good. I think McLaren have a good chance of developing the car to work well with the engine for 2019, so we could be in for a surprise. Sainz is very unlikely to be treated any differently to Ricciardo at Red Bull and I can’t see him being that close to Ricciardo’s level. So I certainly think McLaren would be worth the risk. But driving against who? I’m losing respect for Alonso. Not that I don’t think that he is a good driver, but his attitude is really poor sometimes. The team try as hard as they can to do things and he sounds like he’d rather not be there sometimes. This is not helped by the radio moments they choose to broadcast and sound worse than they are, but even from his interviews, he sounds like he’s lost the interest he used to have. I think he should make way for another driver. At the same time, I think Vandoorne is not looking at all impressive this year. I know he is against a great team mate, but he virtually never looks anywhere close to him. Even including Ericsson’s mistakes, I’ve seen more impressive moments from him this season this season when compared to Vandoorne. As McLaren said, he could do with beating Alonso every now and then. If Vandoorne continues like he has been, I can easily see an option for Sainz at McLaren opening up, and I think he’ll very likely do better than Vandoorne, although possibly may need a few races to get used to the team.

    19. Just saying – MAG is free, Haas has an option but he is free to leave for a top tree team..

      And GRO is free as well.. 😊

      1. GRO even comes with an added bonus…

        1. How about this. Sainz to Haas and GRO to McLaren?

          Or where does Perez feature in this? Sainz to RBR and Perez back to McLaren? Or Ocon to McLaren?

          Sainz might be the safer option for RBR at the moment.

    20. If RB are serious about winning the championship next year, they’ll sign Alonso.

    21. I honestly don’t understand Marko’s obsession with Max Verstappen. He wasn’t significantly better than Sainz during their year at Toro Rosso. And he wasn’t better than Ricciardo at all the past couple of years at Red Bull.

      Helmut Marko bending over backwards this much for an outsider like Max is evidence that the Red Bull’s young driver program is a sham. The only successful graduate has been Daniel Ricciardo, and he decided to flee after Red Bull decided to instead focus on someone coming from outside the team.

      The level of mismanagement in the Red Bull young driver program is unbelievable. It is a program that has ruined more careers than is has made. I’m glad the Honey Badger found greener pastures somewhere else.

      1. Let’s see the size of the patience of RBR with Honda and with Max behavior. RBR has spoiled Max to the point of tolerate his rebel attitude at STR and even at RBR. Sainz was always obeying the team, same Ricciardo, Sainz let Max pass him when Max was faster and he never let Carlos pass when he was slower than Sainz. Time will tell, but I do not see RBR a good place for any driver. Ricciardo has landed in a better place for the next year. RBR-Honda is doomed to failure, so McClown. I believe the best place for Carlos would be Haas.

      2. The only successful graduate has been Daniel Ricciardo

        ?

        It is a program that has ruined more careers than is has made

        Are you so sure those whose career were ‘ruined’ would’ve made it to an F1 team otherwise anyway? (besides, VER in doing well in FE, BUE has gotten himself a pretty OK Sportscar record, KVY…had it coming.From my memory the only driver whose career can really be argued to have been ‘ruined’ would be ALG)

    22. When I heard about Ricciardo leaving Red Bull and considered who would replace him in 2019, I was one who thought the obvious choice would be Sainz, he is experienced and had impressed at Toro Rosso and only moved to Renault because there did not seem like there would be any openings at Red Bull for a while.

      But I hadn’t thought about Sainz’s personal relationships with Red Bull and Verstappen, if you add in the fact that he hasn’t looked as good at Renault against Hulkenberg this year it would be understandable if he wasn’t at Red Bull next season.

      Given Red Bull’s recent history I would be very surprised if they signed someone who has no connection to their driver program, so although some posters seem to want a driver like Alonso or Kubica in the vacant seat I just don’t see it happening, they already have a top driver in Vertsappen so it is not as if they need a big name to replace Ricciardo.

      That would leave Gasly as the only realistic choice, while I think he has had a good year so far, it is still only his first full season in F1 and so may lack the experience required to make the step up and do himself justice.

      I fear it could be similar to what happened to Kvyat, a driver who was promoted too early because Red Bull needed someone after Vettel left, in the long run he may never have been good enough for Red Bull but he would have been better prepared with another season or two at Toro Rosso first.

      Drivers won’t turn down the chance of a drive for a top team, as even if they have doubts that they are not ready, it could turn out to be their only chance.

      Sainz to McLaren would make sense, but what happens at McLaren all depends on Alonso and not just because of the power he his has within the team.

      With the mess McLaren are in they probably will not be in a position to challenge for victories any time soon let alone a championship, in that case it would not be a surprise to see Alonso leaving F1 at the end of this season, if you also agree that there will not be an opening at a better team in F1 for him in the coming years.

      Alonso has made it well known that since he has been unable to add to his two World Championships in F1, his target now is motorsports triple crown, and having ticked off the Le Mans 24hr earlier this year he now only needs the Indy 500 to achieve that.

      A move to drive full time in Indycars would be the best preparation to win the Indy 500, a one off drive in the race might work but it won’t compare to driving in the series week in and week out, and he should also be able to challenge for race wins every weekend in comparison to now where Q3 and finishing best of the rest in seventh in the race is the best he can hope for without problems for others.

      If Alonso did go McLaren would want an experienced driver to replace him, and while he is obviously not anywhere near the same class as Alonso, of the drivers available Sainz is probably the best one McLaren could sign.

    23. From the midfield team drivers the most deserving driver to replace Ricciardo is quite clearly Magnussen. He also has more experience than, say, Gasly for example. How likely that is to happen though, well, that’s another question.

      1. Can you imagine Max and Kevin together? That could be very explosive. It’s not happening!

        1. more carbon-fiber please.

    24. A lot of mention of Alonso being the best choice but I think most will agree it won’t happen.

      Honda surely doesn’t want Alonso after the McLaren saga although Honda must know they failed horribly on their side. Mr. Honda himself said he didn’t fault Alonso for his remarks.

      But if they agreed, Alonso most likely wouldn’t want the RBR seat because Honda is still an unknown and more of a risk than Renault, at least at this point. And Horner stated today he doesn’t expect Honda to blossom in 2019. Why would Alonso want that?

      In any case, RBR needs a veteran for both chassis development feedback if nothing else. If they bring in a young competitive driver like Gasly or Ocon, sparks will ensue as the youngsters are fast and want to prove they are as good or better, much like Sainz.

      Ver is a difficult teammate. RBR need a seasoned, passive veteran like Kimi who knows going in he will be VER’s rear gunner. Alonso is not in that category.

    25. Lol, wait till red bull realize they downgraded. Even worst, wait till ricciardo realizes he’s slower the hulkenberg. Saints gave Max a bigger headache. I like this move. Saints deserves this. It’s going to be fun.

    26. Well RB have a bit of a problem I think. Sainz/ Verstappen combo too volatile, Alonso staying at Mclaren, Gasley still a bit green. Ad to that RB starting with a new engine, they have just lost one of the best drivers on the grid. Looks like an interesting 2019 for RB.

    27. Why would RBR be expected to go after Alonso when Mercedes had a golden opportunity to go after him when Rosberg left but didn’t want to upset Hamilton in any way (despite just being beaten to a championship by his teammate)?

      Last thing RBR want is a 37 year old who rubbishes the team, rubbishes the engine, will inevitably complain about unfair treatment compared to Max, has dismissed them in the past as just an energy drink company.

    28. Raikkonen! As much as Horner wants Saints, the possibility of him butting heads with Max is high. Raikkonen has enough experience and speed. I’m also sure that saints would rather join Ferrari. Better engine and greater chance that would still be the same next year. The question is, will Vettel allow it. The answer is no if he can help it. Many people says x y and z about Vettel but he knows 2014 was no fluke and he will do whatever to prevent that again. Keep in mind that Markos comments about Vettel were totally different to that about Max. Just saying. And Saints is equal if not SLIGHTLY shower over one lap.

    29. I would really, really like to see Sainz pairing Max at Red Bull! But I don’t think that’s not gonna happen. Mainly because it’s Gasly’s momentum.

      Tbh, after that Renault lineup closed, the guy who worries me more is Ocon. No one knows what will happen to Force India, and Wolff already signed the Wingman-77. I really don’t see a future for Esteban. And F1 losing this guy is gonna be a disgrace.

      Mercedes doesn’t nurse their talents. Wehrlein is gone for good, Ocon may be gone, even Russell may not find a seat after all.

      1. Wow, some erros here and there, sorry guys:

        But I don’t think that’s not gonna happen. Mainly because it’s Gasly’s momentum.

        I don’t think that’s gonna happen, obviously.

        Tbh, after that Renault lineup closed, the guy who worries me more is Ocon.

        The guy that worries me the most.

    30. I do not see any mention of Vergne in the RBR driver talk, surprisingly. Formula E champion and not too far behind Ricciardo in their time at Toro Rosso. Could we see a shock comeback?

    31. I’m not sure RBR would want to put Maz and Carlos together again. They didn’t have a particularly good relationship at Toro Rosso and I’d expect it to be worse if they both had competitive cars.

      By the same token, I suspect that Sainz may not be all that keen to be put in that situation either.

      It may just boil down to whether or not RBR have any viable options that they can get hold of – I assume that they have Sainz under contract and can just grab him if they want.

    32. Rosberg approached to come out of retirement. I’ve heard it from someone who should know.

      1. That really would be awesome :-)

    33. That Gasly is going to replace Ricciardo is a no brainer

    34. So many comments! All of this bruhaha may mean HaasF1 has a shot at another good driver, possibly even Sainz, depending how things shake out.

    35. I am not sure if this has been said as I haven’t read all the comments (so many- this has been a bombshell) but unless the comment above about Rosberg returning (I would love to see it, but very much doubt it) it seems Sainz and Gasly are the only contenders for Dan’s old seat. How about this- in the last 6 races Dan goes to Renault early and Sainz returns. He and Gasly each do 3 races each in both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso- he whom impresses most gets the drive.

      This will never happen of course, Marko wont pair Sainz against Max again, but how good would that be!!??

    36. This is great. And hilarious too. Red Bull never had any intention of bringing Sainz back to RB. They wanted to sell him to Renault and extract a high price. They didn’t anticipate losing Riccardo to Renault, thus needing to find an excuse not to place Sainz in the RB Honda. Now they can’t sell Sainz to Renault, they don’t want to bring him back to RB because he and Verstappen are toxic together, he can’t go back to Toro Rosso and they can’t let Sainz’s contract run down past Sept or they lose their investment.

      Gasly isn’t ready yet so they’d better bite the bullet and excercise their option on Sainz on a two year deal. Do they really have any sensible alternative?

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