Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko has laughed off suggestions Carlos Sainz Jr. could make a mid-season move to a rival team, calling the stories “typical summer slump rumors”.
Sainz sparked speculation that he could be set to leave Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s F1 B-team, in the near future over the Austrian Grand Prix weekend when he said that a fourth year with the team in 2018 was “unlikely”.
Red Bull’s bosses clamped down on Sainz, stressing he was still under contract for 2018, but did say he would be available for the right price.
Speculation arose ahead of the summer break that Sainz could switch to Renault mid-season in place of the struggling Jolyon Palmer, only for all parties to deny the suggestions in Hungary.
Speaking to the official F1 website ahead of next weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Marko laughed off the stories once more.
“Rumors! Typical summer-slump rumors,” he said.
“You will see Carlos in a Toro Rosso in Spa.”
Complete with questions about Sainz’s future, Toro Rosso has been going through a bumpy time in recent weeks, with an on-track clash between its drivers at the British Grand Prix being a low point.
Marko feels that Toro Rosso has failed to reach its full potential so far this season, and thinks it will be difficult to achieve its pre-season target of P5 in the constructors’ championship despite being just two points off the position.
“Incidents with the drivers like in Silverstone are unfortunate, as are the reliability issues,” Marko said.
“The aim was to finish fifth in the standings and I think that will be rather difficult. Budapest turned in our favor, but from Spa on you will see the Mercedes-powered cars showing us their rear.
“We had a lot of possibilities in the first half of the season that we haven’t taken. A shame.”