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.