McLaren is undergoing a complex negotiation with Renault-Toro Rosso and Honda for a potential switch of Engine Supplier. One key element of the deal could be Toro Rosso’s driver Carlos Sainz.
Before the engine talks began, Renault was interested in Sainz availability for the team, to pair up with Nico Hulkenberg for next year. But Red Bull said he is not available.
Sainz has expressed his dissatisfaction at being in the junior team for a while now and has been vocal about being promoted to Red Bull next year. But Christian Horner has clarified that Red Bull’s line up will not change for next year. He also mentioned Sainz could be traded for the right value.
Red Bull exercised the option to extend the Spaniard contract by one more year, a few months ago.
A lack of opportunity at the Milton Keynes based team in the near future and inability to explore options beyond Red Bull has frustrated the young driver.
If the French manufacturer agrees to swap its contract from Toro Rosso to McLaren, bring the Red Bull junior team a profitable partnership with Honda, will they give them Sainz? According to paddock talk that is Renault’s trump card in the negotiations.
Renault chiefs Cyril Abiteboul, Jerome Stoll and Alain Prost, and Ross Brawn were all seen leaving McLaren’s motorhome in Monza, giving rise to rumours that the French company will be McLaren’s engine supplier for 2018.
Red Bull had indicated earlier that it will not veto the swap between Toro Rosso and McLaren, although they can, as per contracts. Sources say that while details are being worked out, all parties have agreed in principle to the swap.
It will be interesting to see how Sainz’s contract will be worded. Will he continue to be contracted to Red Bull, but loaned to Renault?
Red Bull’s current drivers’ contracts run out at the end of next season. In case an opportunity arose, will Sainz be able to take it? Red Bull has invested a lot in training Sainz. Will they be willing to sign him away?
A lot of details are yet to be worked out between the parties before it can be called a deal.