Carlos Sainz Jr. says he has “no intention” of breaking his Formula 1 contract with Red Bull for 2018 despite previously suggesting he could leave its Toro Rosso B-team.
Sainz made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2015 after climbing the racing ladder with Red Bull backing, and has since become one of the sport’s brightest young talents.
Sainz said over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend that a fourth year with Toro Rosso in 2018 was “unlikely” as he pushed for a move up the grid, only for his bosses to hit back hard.
Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner and Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost stressed Sainz remained under contract for next season, prompting the Spaniard to clarify his comments and clear the air.
Speaking to Spain’s SoyMotor, Sainz professed his happiness racing for Toro Rosso under the Red Bull umbrella and said he was not looking to break his contract for next year.
“As in life itself, a contract has a lot of importance in Formula 1,” Sainz said.
“Looking at my situation, I am happy where I am. I have no intention of breaking any contract.
“I think everything was taken out of context, both my statements and maybe the reaction on their part.
“We are all much calmer and happier now.”
While Sainz may not be looking to break out of his contract, Red Bull is willing to listen to offers for his services in 2018 should a rival team look to sign him.
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.”