Carlos Sainz told he will be staying at Toro Rosso in 2018 by Christian Horner
Horner describes Sainz saying he's unlikely to be at Toro Rosso in 2018 as "disingenuous"; Red Bull exercise option in his contract
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 12/07/17 5:23pm
Christian Horner has given Carlos Sainz a public rebuke after the in-demand Spanish youngster suggested he wouldn't drive for Toro Rosso next year.
Horner was reacting to Sainz's prediction he is "unlikely" to stay at Toro Rosso for a fourth season in 2018.
"I don't know where he thinks he'll be then," responded Red Bull chief Horner to Sky Sports F1. "Contracts are clear.
"Carlos Sainz is under contract. We've exercised his option so he's under contract and we have an option on him for next year and the year after. He'll be in a Toro Rosso again next year."
"You have to remember, he only got a chance in Formula 1 because of Red Bull investing in him in the junior years," continued Horner.
"It's a little bit disingenuous to be making comments like that. A lot of investment goes into these guys to give them the opportunity.
"Without Red Bull he wouldn't be in a Formula 1 car."
Asked by Sky F1's Simon Lazenby if he would be giving Sainz 'a slap on the wrist' about his comments, Horner replied: "I just have."
The 22-year-old Sainz has been linked with a host of teams for next season - most notably Renault, Williams and McLaren. Many in the paddock also believe Sainz could be in the frame for Ferrari if Kimi Raikkonen departs at the end of the year.
"I am not going to close the door on any opportunity," Sainz said on Thursday. "I am definitely ready to take a step forward in my career. I am ready. I am not closing any doors and we will see what happens."
But Horner flatly ruled out any prospect of Red Bull, owners of Toro Rosso, loaning out Sainz to their engine suppliers Renault for next year.
"I can't imagine that scenario," said the Red Bull chief. "Toro Rosso are ahead of Renault at this point in time and doing a good job and it wouldn't make sense to loan him out."
'Carlos should focus on driving'
Red Bull's motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko echoed Horner's comments and said that Sainz should focus on his driving, with team bosses having the final say on driver contracts.
He also revealed he would hold talks with Sainz should a team like Ferrari come in for his services, but said that was yet to happen.
"I think he is a little bit confused. I see it in his driving, he came off today and has done other mistakes already this season," he told Sky F1's Craig Slater.
"The contract is crystal clear. You don't bite the hand that feeds you. It was Mr Mateschitz and I who pushed Sainz into Toro Rosso, nobody else would give him a chance.
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"We sent him a letter saying that we take the option. As far as I know, and as long as I have been in Red Bull, the driver doesn't decide what they are doing with the contract. It is up to the boss and they make the decisions. I think he should focus on driving.
"I told him that when Ferrari come we can talk. But I met Gino [Rosato] and Maurizio Arrivabene last Saturday and they didn't mention anything about going for Sainz. Maybe it is the father who is dreaming more."
Daniel, Max "100 per cent" with Red Bull in 2018
Speaking in Thursday's drivers' press conference, Sainz had stressed that his No 1 target for 2018 was to be promoted to the senior Red Bull team.
But that appears unlikely after Horner reaffirmed that current drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will "100 per cent" be with the team, despite reports linking them both with Ferrari.
"We're very clear on who our drivers are for next year, which are the same numbers that are on the cars this year," Horner said.
"The contracts are clear. Both are under contract for next year, 100 per cent."
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