With Daniel Ricciardo vacating his Red Bull seat for 2019, it opens the door for Carlos Sainz to step up. However, there is a certain obstacle that could prevent that from happening. That obstacle is called Max Verstappen. It is rumoured that the Dutchman is against partnering his former Toro Rosso team mate.
Due to Ricciardo’s unexpected departure from the Milton Keynes-based squad, it has opened the floodgates of the drivers’ market. Now, numerous opportunities for change are suddenly emerging.
Earlier this summer, Red Bull’s Christian Horner stated that Sainz was be the most obvious choice in the event of Ricciardo’s departure.
However, sources say that the Verstappen camp is against the idea of reuniting the two. This is likely because of the pair’s difficult relationship in their final months together at Toro Rosso.
This animosity could play into the hands of current Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly. As for Sainz Jr., the 23-year-old Spaniard could find himself at McLaren, where Zak Brown has already partly opened the door.
“We think Carlos is an excellent race car driver,” said Brown.
“He’s certainly someone that as you go down the shortlist of drivers you’d consider putting in a race car.
“If he was free, and if we had a seat, he would certainly be high up on the consideration set.”
If Sainz heads to Woking, there will also be the question of the identity of his future team mate. This is with regard to the uncertainty surrounding the future in F1 of Fernando Alonso.
“We do have a long-term agreement in place with Stoffel and Fernando, but as you can imagine in these contracts there’s a variety of elements to them,” added Brown.
“We will make our driver decision ultimately when we’re ready. I anticipate that being some time after the summer break.
“We’re still reviewing, analysing what’s ultimately the best combination for McLaren moving forward. Stoffel is very much part of that consideration set.”