RED Bull chief Christian Horner has indicated Carlos
Sainz is available at the right price – but reiterated
neither Daniel Ricciardo nor Max Verstappen can be bought out
of their contracts.
Renault have scoffed at reports the Toro Rosso driver could
replace Jolyon Palmer as early as next week’s Hungarian GP.
But with Verstappen and Ricciardo tied to Red Bull for 2018,
Horner has admitted for the first time that Sainz, who is
himself contracted to the Red Bull group until the end of 2019,
could leave – if the price is right.
“Sainz has a contract with Red Bull and there are two years
left on that contract,” said Horner. “We value him as an asset
and an asset has a value. So if there was a desire from another
team to have him, or for him to go somewhere else, something
that has a value has to have a price attached.
“If somebody was prepared to make an offer, we would, of
course, consider it. But it would need to have a significant
value attached because we have invested in Carlos. We are not
just going to give an asset away.”
On his own team’s line-up, Horner was at pains to stress that
Ricciardo and Verstappen would be staying.
“They are totally locked in and there is no price that would be
high enough for those two,” said Horner. “Sebastian [Vettel]
probably holds the key to the driver market for the moment but
in Red Bull there will be no change to our driver line-up.
“Both our drivers are very happy within the team and happy to
be within the team next year. They will be our drivers next
However, Horner confirmed that Ricciardo’s present deal does
run out at the end of 2018 following what will be his fifth
season with the team.
A turbulent month for Sainz continued in spectacular fashion at
Silverstone on Sunday when he crashed out of the British GP
after a collision with team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
The Russian was adjudged to be at fault by the stewards who
imposed two penalty points onto his licence, bringing Kvyat to
within three of a race ban.
Sainz said at the start of the month it was “unlikely” he would
stay with Toro Rosso for 2018 before being ‘slapped down’ by
Horner and reminded of his contractual situation.
It was an altogether more circumspect Sainz who spoke to the
media on Sunday night at Silverstone as he denied any knowledge
of the Renault speculation.
“Many people are coming to me about this rumour and for me,
it’s just a rumour,” said the Spaniard. “When not one single
comment you receive from your bosses, who are actually managing
your career, comes from them then you expect it to be just a
rumour. I don’t comment about rumours.
“I have not asked yet because I haven’t had time to speak with
“After Austria we cleared everything, we clarified everything –
what was said, what was not intending to be said. We explained
to each other everything and [Christian Horner, Helmut Marko
and I] were playing tennis yesterday, enjoying our time. We had
a good time, the air is clear. I’m a Red Bull driver, inside
the Red Bull programme, covering for Toro Rosso next year and
looking forward to changing today’s result in Hungary with Toro
“I think there was a bit of confusion [over what was said in
Austria]. I’ve learnt from it. As a 22-year-old driver, you
learn from these kind of things. The air was clear immediately
once we started our conversation in Austria and at that point,
it was forgotten.”
Originally published as
Red Bull puts driver on transfer block