Carlos Sainz Jr. has responded to suggestions of a rift with former Toro Rosso teammate Max Verstappen by saying there are no personal problems between the two Formula 1 drivers.
Red Bull announced last week that Verstappen would be joining its senior F1 team from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards, with Daniil Kvyat moving in the opposite direction.
While Kvyat’s recent poor form was cited as the main reason for the move, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko claimed it was also done to ease some of the tension at Toro Rosso between Sainz and Verstappen.
Despite enjoying many close on-track battles with Verstappen, Sainz said that he had no personal problems with the Dutchman.
“I think the personal relationship that Max and I have is not a big issue honestly,” Sainz said.
“I think we both always maintain the respect out of the track. I think it’s more a matter of a team perspective of how the team was working. That’s where Franz Tost and Helmut marko come into play and take the decision.
“Between Max and myself there was always respect and good vibes with each other. Out there, it was just a matter of engineering, just maybe being a comfortable team.
“That’s why they decided to take these decisions internally.”
Verstappen quickly interjected by saying: “I think we still need to plan when we’re going to go go-karting together”, the two having discussed it prior to the press conference.
In the wake of Verstappen’s departure and Kvyat’s arrival, there has been a re-shuffle of the engineering teams at Toro Rosso, with Verstappen’s engineer Xevi Pujolar exiting after the Russian Grand Prix.