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Tost: Sainz’s F1 future to be decided by Red Bull

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Toro Rosso Formula 1 chief Franz Tost says that Carlos Sainz Jr. will have his 2018 plans decided by Red Bull as he remains under contract, despite the Spaniard’s claim that remaining with the team next year is “unlikely”.

Sainz made his F1 debut with Red Bull’s F1 B-team in 2015, and has put in some quietly impressive displays during his time in the sport to attract the attention of teams further up the grid.

Sainz said on Thursday in Austria that he felt a fourth year with Toro Rosso in 2018 was “unlikely”, targeting a seat with Red Bull’s senior team or elsewhere if one was not available.

The comments sparked an angry reaction in the British media from Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner in the British media, stressing that Sainz would still be racing for Toro Rosso next year.

Toro Rosso’s Tost shared Horner’s view, stressing in Friday’s FIA press conference that Sainz’s future was in Red Bull’s hands.

“This is not a decision of Carlos Sainz. He has a Red Bull contract and Red Bull decides what he will do in the future,” Tost said.

“I’m a little bit confused about this discussion at this stage of the year because Red Bull has paid and financed the complete career of Carlos Sainz.

They paid his Formula BMW season, Formula Renault, then Formula Three, GP3, 3.5 litre World Series and three years in Formula Three.

“Why should Red Bull give him away to any other opponent when they educated him to quite a high level? I think sometimes loyalty – also in Formula One – should play an important game.

“Once more, it’s a decision of Red Bull.”

Tequila Patron to end ESM and IMSA partnerships after 2018 season

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Earlier on Monday, Tequila Patron, a long-time sponsor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, both at the team level – they have a long standing partnership with Tequila Patron ESM – and the series level, announced that they will be ending their sponsorships at the end of the 2018 season.

After sponsoring Highcroft Racing in 2008 and 2009 in the American Le Mans Series, Tequila Patron and ESM formed a partnership in 2010 to launch their own team. Since then, they have scored overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Petit Le Mans. They have also competed internationally, in both Prototype and GT categories.

“On behalf of the entire Extreme Speed Motorsports organization, it has been an honor to represent such an amazing brand for the past 13 years,” said team co-owner Scott Sharp via a team release.

“I have the deepest gratitude for all of (Patron CEO and ESM co-founder) Ed Brown’s support. Together we have tackled various challenges, won races at each step, and built ESM into such an incredible team. Simultaneously, it has been thrilling to watch Ed and his team build the Patrón brand in a meteoric fashion and along the way become an icon in the motorsports world! We will miss not carrying the now infamous green and black livery, but the same passion for excellence will remain!”

IMSA President Scott Atherton also expressed gratitude toward Patron for their long-time involvement.

“IMSA and Patron Spirits have enjoyed a fantastic partnership for more than a decade. Tequila Patron rose through the IMSA ranks, from a high-profile team sponsor with Patron Highcroft Racing beginning in 2008, through its entitlement sponsorship of the Patron GT3 Challenge starting in 2009, and its presenting sponsorship of the American Le Mans Series beginning in 2010,” Atherton detailed.

He continued, “Tequila Patron continued in a prominent position as the American Le Mans Series merged with GRAND-AM to create the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and has been our entitlement partner for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup since 2014 in addition to its longstanding support of the Tequila Patron ESM race team and its pair of Nissan DPi race cars.

“All associated with IMSA – competitors, promoter partners, series officials and fans – will miss the iconic Tequila Patrón brand next year. On behalf of IMSA, we thank CEO Ed Brown and Tequila Patron for all they have done over the many years to help us grow IMSA and the sport as a whole. We’re more proud than words can express to have counted Tequila Patron among our family of premium brand partners.”

Team co-owner Scott Sharp, in a story posted on SportsCar365, asserted that the ESM team has every intention of continuing in 2019.

“We’re working on a number of options,” Sharp said. “Obviously I think we’ve singly got the best team we’ve ever had, personnel-wise. Having been refining over the years and making selected additions, we’ve gotten ourselves to be super strong. The goal is keeping everyone together. We’re working through a few different options that will hopefully allow us to do that.”

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