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Sainz ‘unlikely’ to remain with Toro Rosso beyond end of ’17

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Carlos Sainz Jr. is unlikely to stay with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula 1 beyond the end of 2017 as he bids to move up the grid and secure a top-line seat to progress his career.

Following an impressive run of form throughout 2016 and a strong start to the current season, Sainz has been linked with a number of top drives for next year.

The Spaniard has been part of Red Bull’s program for the majority of his career, but a move up to its senior F1 team seems unlikely as both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen look poised to retain their seats for 2018.

Speaking about his future during Thursday’s FIA press conference ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Sainz said that his main goal was to secure a seat with Red Bull in the future, but added he would look elsewhere for 2018 if a drive did not come up.

“It’s still a very long season ahead. Obviously rumors are always going to come at this stage,” Sainz said.

“As you all know, my target number one is to be with Red Bull next year, fighting for podiums, wins, or whatever they’re fighting for next year. And I’m going to keep pushing for this.

“If that doesn’t happen, a fourth year in Toro Rosso is unlikely, and I don’t want to close the door to any opportunity.

“I’m definitely ready to take a step forward in my career. I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready.

“As I said before, I’m not closing any doors, and we will see.”

Sainz confirmed he was aware of the speculation about his future, yet he stressed the importance of doing his talking on-track.

“There are obviously rumors going around the paddock I heard. Silly season, as you all name it, it’s good fun, but for me the good fun is actually here on track,” Sainz said.

“Up until now it has been a really good season, and we will see. I’ll leave that to other people in my team.

“For me, I have a job to drive a car and do it as fast as possible.”

McLaren almost back on schedule with 2018 F1 car after delay

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McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.

McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.

The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.

“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.

“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.

“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.

“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.

“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”