Franz Tost has confirmed that Toro Rosso will retain both Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. for the 2016 Formula 1 season relying that the team is on the grid.
Toro Rosso’s future has been cast into doubt along with that of parent team Red Bull due to the marque’s ongoing engine saga.
Red Bull had been keen to cut ties with current supplier Renault at the end of the year due to the sub-standard power units that the French manufacturer has provided since the beginning of the V6 turbo era.
However, the team now looks poised to continue with Renault power units in 2016, albeit unbadged or running under a different brand.
Toro Rosso is set to change supplier for 2016 after Ferrari agreed to supply Red Bull’s B-team with 2015-spec power units.
Speaking on Friday in Brazil, team principal Tost said that relying Toro Rosso is on the grid, it will be keeping both Verstappen and Sainz following their impressive rookie seasons.
“If the team is on the starting grid then I consider that both of them will be the drivers of Toro Rosso, because so far they have done a very good job and of course we want to keep them,” Tost said.
When asked about Toro Rosso’s future, Tost added: “It’s not decided yet. We will see. I’m convinced, optimistic, that this will be the case.”
Earlier this week, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was forced to issue a ‘hands off’ warning to other teams following speculation about Max Verstappen’s future under the marque’s umbrella.
Verstappen, 18, is poised to finish as 2015’s top rookie, and has already been linked with a possible move away from Toro Rosso.
“I’m not going to go into details of their contractual status,” Horner is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
“But rival teams are speaking to the wrong people if they’re talking to the driver as the driver has a contract.”