Marko Explains Choice to Keep Verstappen and ‘Cancel’ Sainz’s Red Bull Ties

Published 06/01/2021, 5:45 AM EDT
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko and Renault Sport F1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul talk on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Not that long ago, Carlos Sainz was part of the Red Bull family, driving alongside Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso (AlphaTauri) in 2015. However, the Spaniard didn’t get a chance to grow at the team and was hence loaned to Renault for the 2017 season.


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Later, Sainz joined McLaren for two seasons before signing for Ferrari for the 2021 season. Now that the Spaniard has found his feet in F1 and has just secured his first podium for the Italian team, do Red Bull regret letting him go?

Well, no. Red Bull advisor, Dr. Helmut Marko has stated that he has no regrets over not promoting Sainz to Red Bull.


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Marko doesn’t look back at Carlos Sainz with any regrets

Speaking to, as quoted by PlanetF1, Marko said, “At the time we were very strong. But in Max we saw the very strongest driver. That’s why we chose Verstappen at the time and I think the results Verstappen has shown since then more than justify that decision.

“We didn’t send Sainz away and for good reason, we were very early to contract him. Verstappen and Sainz were very evenly matched, but we didn’t have the possibility to offer him more [than a spot at Toro Rosso].

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – Second placed Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. is celebrates second place with a trophy Pool via REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

“He was not convinced of the future prospects at Toro Rosso. His feeling was he was not progressing and he did not want to wait any longer. We first loaned him out and then we cancelled the contract completely.

“After all, we didn’t want to stand in the way of his future,” Marko concluded.

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How is Sainz compared to Verstappen this season?

Even though they’re not driving alongside each other anymore, they still meet up on the track every so often.


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At the recent Monaco Grand Prix, Verstappen was leading the race while Sainz was chasing him down to take first place. But it was the Red Bull prodigy who came out on top and brought home the win for the Milton-Keynes-based outfit, and Sainz had to settle for P2.

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium with second placed Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and third placed McLaren’s Lando Norris Pool via REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Some still imagine what the two could have achieved if they stayed in the same team. But do you think that Max and Sainz could have brought great success to their team if they were teammates? Let us know in the comments below.


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Arpit Gomes

491 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.