We all know that Carlos Sainz Jr is a very, very good driver. He consistently matched Max Verstappen during their time as teammates and has regularly put in excellent performances for Toro Rosso.
It’s clear that he seems ready to move up the grid and race for a more competitive team. The obvious destination would be a promotion to Red Bull – Sainz himself said he wanted to drive there next year – but with Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo looking set to stay that seems unlikely to happen.
Even without a Red Bull seat available Sainz said that he probably wouldn’t be at Toro Rosso next year, even though he’s under contract and even though Christian Horner said he’d be staying put.
According to a report from Bild, a deal has been done to release Sainz from his association with Red Bull and sign for Renault. He could even be in the car as soon as the next race in Hungary as a replacement for the struggling Jolyon Palmer.
talked to hmarko last night. seems that @Carlossainz55 could drive for @RenaultSportF1 as from #HungarianGP. story: https://t.co/HU6qujgvuy
— Christian Nimmervoll (@MST_ChristianN) July 16, 2017
Apparently Toro Rosso principal Franz Tost and Helmut Marko weren’t too happy with Sainz’s very public comments about wanting to get away from Red Bull, prompting the fast-tracking of his potential switch to Renault.
If the deal does go ahead then that’d mean Pierre Gasly would come in at Toro Rosso, and with Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg at Renault the hype train for a Robert Kubica comeback might have to slow down a bit. As for Palmer? Who knows.
At the moment these are just rumours – albeit strong ones – so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. It seems to make sense though, as if Sainz is leaving for Renault it would explain why Toro Rosso are looking to keep Daniil Kvyat on for another year, as having his experience will be useful alongside rookie Pierre Gasly.
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that life as a Red Bull-backed driver is never straightforward!