Carlos Sainz Jr. will become a modern day rarity – a driver set to have his third season with the Scuderia Toro Rosso team – as he’s been confirmed to return for the 2017 season.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner confirmed the news to reporters on Wednesday in advance of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. The announcement follows Franz Tost hinting Sainz would likely be confirmed sooner rather than later to return.
“Well we took up [Sainz]’s option earlier this week so he’s committed to Red Bull for the next 12 months,” Horner said. “As with all the drivers he’s committed to Red Bull Racing and then we have the ability to place them where we want. Of course he’s currently at Toro Rosso which is where he’ll be next year.”
The young Spaniard has been impressive and perhaps flown under the radar this year in the face of the Max Verstappen arrival to Red Bull Racing earlier this year, following the demotion of Daniil Kvyat back to Toro Rosso. Sainz’s name has been floated in consideration with a switch to Ferrari next year in place of Kimi Raikkonen.
Kvyat, who’s since calmed down in the last few Grands Prix since returning to the team that he ran his first full season with, seems likely to continue with Toro Rosso as well.
If Kvyat wasn’t Sainz’s teammate next year, Horner said he’d “be surprised.”
Both Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen are under contract at Red Bull and Sainz will become the third driver (Sebastien Buemi, Jean-Eric Vergne) to enter a third full season at Toro Rosso.