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Marko laughs off Sainz stories as ‘typical summer slump rumors’

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Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko has laughed off suggestions Carlos Sainz Jr. could make a mid-season move to a rival team, calling the stories “typical summer slump rumors”.

Sainz sparked speculation that he could be set to leave Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s F1 B-team, in the near future over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend when he said that a fourth year with the team in 2018 was “unlikely”.

Red Bull’s bosses clamped down on Sainz, stressing he was still under contract for 2018, but did say he would be available for the right price.

Speculation arose ahead of the summer break that Sainz could switch to Renault mid-season in place of the struggling Jolyon Palmer, only for all parties to deny the suggestions in Hungary.

Speaking to the official F1 website ahead of next weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Marko laughed off the stories once more.

“Rumors! Typical summer-slump rumors,” he said.

“You will see Carlos in a Toro Rosso in Spa.”

Complete with questions about Sainz’s future, Toro Rosso has been going through a bumpy time in recent weeks, with an on-track clash between its drivers at the British Grand Prix being a low point.

Marko feels that Toro Rosso has failed to reach its full potential so far this season, and thinks it will be difficult to achieve its pre-season target of P5 in the constructors’ championship despite being just two points off the position.

“Incidents with the drivers like in Silverstone are unfortunate, as are the reliability issues,” Marko said.

“The aim was to finish fifth in the standings and I think that will be rather difficult. Budapest turned in our favor, but from Spa on you will see the Mercedes-powered cars showing us their rear.

“We had a lot of possibilities in the first half of the season that we haven’t taken. A shame.”

Horner: F1 could follow IndyCar’s lead, use V6 twin-turbo engines

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Formula 1 could be set to follow IndyCar’s lead and introduce V6 twin-turbo engines upon the planned regulation change in 2021, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

F1 has raced with V6 turbo hybrid power units since 2014 in a bid to make the sport more road-relevant and efficient, with cars racing on 30 per cent less fuel and recording faster times than ever.

However, the reduced sound of the power units compared to their V8 and V10 predecessors, combined with their complexity and cost has led F1’s bosses to push for a change in specification for 2021.

Meetings have already taken place with a number of manufacturers both inside and outside of the sport in a bid to define F1’s future engine direction, with various avenues being explored.

While Horner would like to see F1 return to normally-aspirated V8 or V10 engines used in the past, he believes a more realistic option could yield inspiration from IndyCar.

“I doubt we will go back to normally aspirated, despite it being my wish. We will end up with a V6 twin-turbo I believe,” Horner told reporters in Hungary, as quoted by crash.net.

“But the acoustics are a key aspect of what has been put on the table because when this engine was introduced the costs or the attractiveness by noise were fundamental parts of what the engine should be.”

The FIA has outlined its main criteria for F1’s future power options, centering on four areas:

  • a desire to maintain F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport technology, and as a laboratory for developing technology that is relevant to road cars
  • striving for future power units to be powerful, while becoming simpler and less costly to develop and produce
  • improving the sound of the power units
  • a desire to allow drivers to drive harder at all times.

IndyCar introduced its current engine specification back in 2012, and, in a rather neat coincidence, is also able to revise its power options for 2021.

Sainz: ‘No intention’ of breaking Red Bull F1 contract for 2018

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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.

Horner: Halo introduction to F1 for 2018 ‘a shame’

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Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner believes the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection device for the 2018 season is “a shame”, but understands the FIA’s reasons for doing so.

The FIA confirmed ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix that the F1 Strategy Group had approved the Halo’s introduction for 2018, marking a first step for the sport in its bid to improve cockpit safety standards.

The move has split opinion throughout racing, with Horner expressing his regret over its introduction, particularly given the added weight and its appearance.

“I think the FIA have made the decision, and I understand the reasons they felt compelled to make it, but personally, I don’t like the Halo,” Horner said.

“I think it moves away from open-cockpit racing, which Formula 1 has been.

“There are obviously challenges with it. It is quite heavy.

“We have been given an extra five kilos of weight allowance to implement it, but it’s not very pretty.

“It’s a shame it’s on a grand prix car for next year.”

Red Bull F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo shared Horner’s uncertainty about the Halo, admitting he is concerned by the negative reaction from fans.

“I was in favor of head protection. Do I think the Halo is the best thing? I’m not convinced,” Ricciardo said.

“It’s difficult. All I’ve heard so far from fans is negative comments so that worries me. I know we are the ones in the car and our safety is important.

“But at the same time – obviously it won’t happen – but if every fan suddenly walked away from Formula 1 there wouldn’t be any F1 probably.

“I’m surprised they pulled the trigger on it because not everyone was in favor of it.”

Sainz: Joining Red Bull Racing ‘my one and only target’

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Carlos Sainz Jr. says moving up to Red Bull’s senior Formula 1 team remains his “one and only target” despite recently suggesting he could leave the energy drink giant’s driver program for 2018.

Sainz caused a stir over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend when he said a fourth year with Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s B-team, was “unlikely” in 2018, only for program bosses Christian Horner and Helmut Marko to stress he remained under contract.

Sainz moved to clear up the comments, re-affirming his commitment to Red Bull and making peace with his bosses.

“I have my opinion and I said it in that very moment. Maybe I could have used a different wording to put it,” Sainz told the official F1 website.

“It is not something that I enjoyed, seeing Helmut Marko and Christian Horner going against me, but it sometimes happens in a Formula 1 career. But it should be over, so turn the page.

“From my side there is nothing else than sheer ambition. And sometimes in the heat of ambition you say things. But that is me! I do have targets and objectives.”

Sainz stressed that his goal is still to race for Red Bull’s senior team one day, despite both of its seats currently being locked down by Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

“It is my one and only target to be a Red Bull driver in the future. That is what I want, and that is what I have said a hundred times before,” Sainz said.

“And if one answer said in the heat of the moment is spinning out of control, that is just ‘modern times’.”