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Carlos Sainz 'confused' and should 'focus on driving', say Red Bull

Team advisor Helmut Marko insists Red Bull decide on driver's future; Reveals no interest from Ferrari in Spaniard

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Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko had a strong response to Carlos Sainz's comments about moving away from Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz is "confused" and should "focus on driving" according to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, as the row around his Toro Rosso future continues.

Sainz declared on Thursday that it was "unlikely" he would spend a fourth season with Toro Rosso if he didn't get a promotion to the senior Red Bull team and reiterated on Friday afternoon that he was ready for a step up.

Horner slaps down Sainz

His initial comments drew a public 'slap on the wrist' from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and now the team's motorsport advisor Marko has told the Spaniard that they have the final say on his contract.

"I think he is a little bit confused," Marko told Sky F1's Craig Slater.

"I see it in his driving, he came off today and has done other mistakes already this season.

"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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How the saga unfolded

  • Thursday pm: Sainz reveals in driver's press conference it is 'unlikely' he will remain at Toro Rosso in 2018 if a promotion to the senior Red Bull team does not materialise.
  • Friday am: Christian Horner says Red Bull have taken the option to extend Sainz's contract and describes his comments as "disingenuous"
  • Friday pm: Sainz maintains he is ready to make a step up from Toro Rosso.
  • Friday pm: Helmut Marko insists Red Bull decide driver's future and says Sainz is "confused" and should "focus on driving".

"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. [Daniil] Kvyat has out-qualified him the last couple of races."

The highly-rated Sainz has impressed during his three years at Toro Rosso and has been linked with a 2018 drive at Ferrari, Renault, Williams and McLaren.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso talks to Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko ahead of the Monaco Fo

Marko said Red Bull would consider releasing the 22-year-old if the Scuderia came calling, but insisted there had been no approach as yet.

"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," he said.

Sainz: I'm ready to step up

Speaking to Sky F1 ahead of Practice Two for the Austrian GP, Sainz maintained that he was ready to drive a more competitive car.

"No one has had a fourth consecutive year at Toro Rosso and I'm ready to take a step," he said.

"It's a nice problem to have [being in demand]. My No 1 target is to be in Red Bull as soon as possible. That has been my dream since I was 15 and they picked me up and that's not going to change. I'm just enjoying my time in 2017 a lot and I'm looking forward to keep going like that.

"I don't know [if can wait until 2019 for a Red Bull seat]. It's a long year ahead. It's too early to speak about 2019 when we are still in 2017.

"I'm happy for this year and have a very long year ahead. For the rest we will see. I need to speak internally with Red Bull."

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