Carlos Sainz a 'future champion' but can he stay in Red Bull's stable?
Watch the post-Monaco F1 Report with Will Buxton and Oli Rowland
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 01/06/17 3:43pm
Carlos Sainz is a future F1 world champion and Red Bull will be left with a big decision over his future at the end of the year, according to the guests on this week's F1 Report.
Sainz produced one of the star performances of the Monaco GP weekend to qualify and finish sixth for Toro Rosso, equalling the best race result of his F1 career so far.
The 22-year-old has failed to score points just once this season and has contributed nearly 90 per cent of fifth-placed Toro Rosso's total.
But behind Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in the Red Bull pecking order, Sainz's path to a promotion within the same stable remains blocked.
Speaking on the F1 Report: Monaco Review, NBC reporter Will Buxton said: "He's doing an astonishing job this year.
"Whether he's qualified outside the points or in the points, he brings it home every single weekend.
"And Red Bull have got a really tough choice at the end of the year because they've got three potential world champions on their books. Carlos isn't going to stay around at Toro Rosso forever.
"He is a potential champion and he needs a good seat."
Ricciardo and Verstappen are under contract until the end of next year and Buxton cannot see how Red Bull can also keep Sainz happy for 2018 if there is no change in the senior team.
"Does he go to Ferrari? Does Daniel go to Ferrari? Does Max end up at Mercedes?" pondered Buxton.
"Who knows, but Red Bull can't hope to hang on to all three of them for another year. It doesn't work, their aspirations are too high."
Former Williams technical chief turned Sky F1 pundit Pat Symonds revealed over the Monaco GP that his old team had previously held talks with Sainz, while the Toro Rosso driver was a target for Renault last year.
F2 driver Oliver Rowland, who joins Buxton on Wednesday's show, raced against Sainz when the Spaniard won the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 title and believes his old rival is worthy of a leading seat.
"Every year he's been there [Toro Rosso] he's been extremely good and he's getting better and better and more consistent," said Rowland.
"These cars probably suit him a bit more than before as well with the high downforce. When I raced against him in World Series the cars were quite similar and he's really exceptional in situations like that.
"It's nice to see him maturing and growing. It would be nice to see him in a Ferrari or, who knows, even a Red Bull depending on where people go at the end of the year."
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