Sainz: No plans to leave Red Bull programme despite senior team being ‘quite closed’

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Carlos Sainz Jr. claims he is not considering a move away from the Red Bull programme in Formula 1 despite admitting that the driver situation at its senior team is “quite closed”.

Sainz made his grand prix debut with Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s junior F1 team, at the beginning of 2015 and has impressed many in the paddock in the meantime.

However, when Red Bull took the decision to demote Daniil Kvyat back to Toro Rosso, Sainz’s teammate Max Verstappen was promoted up into the senior outfit.

With both Verstappen and Red Bull lead driver Daniel Ricciardo locked in on long-term contracts, Sainz’s chances of moving up from Toro Rosso in the future look slim, leading to speculation about a possible move away from the Red Bull setup for 2017.

“The silly season has started very early! We are in the eighth race of the season and you guys are already speaking about this,” Sainz told NBCSN.

“What I can say is that I’m very happy with how things have been going lately for me, very happy to keep growing inside Toro Rosso because we have been improving a lot.

“These things you are talking about are just rumors. My career has been guided by Red Bull and they’ve always taken the right decision for me.

“So hopefully, when the time comes, after hopefully continuing a good run of races, they will take a decision regarding me and it’s the right one.”

Sainz conceded that the driver line-up at Red Bull seems set for many years to come, but believes that Toro Rosso can move up the grid and be more competitive.

“It’s true that in Red Bull the situation looks quite closed,” Sainz said.

“But we must keep thinking that Toro Rosso with a good power unit and one more year of experience and growing could be also in a good position. James Key is a brilliant engineer that is bringing the team up also.

“We will see where we can be next year, obviously I don’t want at the moment to move from the Red Bull programme and from Toro Rosso and obviously Red Bull more in the future as it looks quite closed at the moment.”

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.