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Horner: Red Bull would consider ‘significant’ offers for Sainz

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Red Bull would consider releasing Carlos Sainz Jr. from his Formula 1 contract if the price was right as speculation about the Spaniard’s future continues to circulate the paddock.

Sainz said over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend that a fourth year with Toro Rosso in 2018, Red Bull’s B-team in F1, was unlikely, only for his bosses to snap back and confirm he remained under contract for next season.

With Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen locked in at Red Bull for the foreseeable future, Sainz appears to be stuck at Toro Rosso, leading to suggestions he could be set for a move up the grid.

A report in the German media over the Silverstone weekend even suggested he could be in line to replace Jolyon Palmer at Renault for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of the month, but Horner was quick to rebuff this.

“I don’t know where these rumors come from, but I cannot believe that these rumors are out there for the Hungarian race,” Horner said, as quoted by Reuters.

“Carlos Sainz has a contract with Red Bull Racing. There are two years left on that contract.

“If somebody was prepared to make an offer, of course, we’d consider it.”

However, Horner stressed that it would need to be an impressive offer given Red Bull’s investment in Sainz, having funded his career from Formula BMW right the way up to F1.

“It would have to have a significant value attached to it because we’ve invested in Carlos significantly,” Horner said.

“You’re not just going to give an asset away.”

Should Sainz depart Toro Rosso at the end of the season, 2016 GP2 champion Pierre Gasly, who currently races in Japan’s Super Formula series, is next in line on Red Bull’s junior program to get a shot in F1.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”