Sainz debut in 2014 ‘possible’ (2nd Update)
|Carlos Sainz Jr|
Caterham Team Principal Christijan Albers has downplayed suggestions that Red Bull young driver Carlos Sainz Jr. could race for the team in 2014.
Sainz Jr., who currently leads the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship, confirmed that he held talks with Caterham during the British Grand Prix weekend, but insisted that his future is in the hands of Red Bull.
Albers dismissed thoughts that Sainz Jr. could race for Caterham in 2014 and insists that he is happy with the current pairing of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson.
"I have seen a lot of rumors in the press as usual in Formula 1," he said. "At this moment, of course, we have seen Carlos and we have spoken to him also but at this moment there is nothing done."
Albers was further quizzed on the rumors and was quick to distance the team from Sainz Jr.
"I did not say that I spoke with him about a race seat," he said. "I said we spoke with each other, yes. But the drivers are performing now. I was happy today, that's the situation."
07/11/14 (GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr has admitted talks about making his grand prix debut for Caterham this year have taken place in recent days.
The 19-year-old Spaniard spoke to the sports newspaper AS just before heading to the Nurburgring, where he will continue his dominant season in the Renault world series this weekend.
Sainz, who shares a name with his world rallying legend father, is the current cream of Red Bull's junior driver program, and hotly tipped to replace Jean-Eric Vergne at Toro Rosso in 2015.
But in the wake of F1 backmarker Caterham's takeover, new team advisor Colin Kolles had talks at Silverstone with Sainz Jr and sir and Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko.
It is believed a deal whereby Sainz Jr makes his F1 debut in a green car this year, replacing Kamui Kobayashi, was discussed, possibly with the forgiving of Caterham's gearbox bills to Red Bull as payment.
According to some Spanish reports, the parties failed to agree.
"Yes, it is true that there have been talks with them (Caterham)," Sainz Jr told the Spanish daily AS, "but there is nothing confirmed.
"It doesn't change anything for me because my goal remains the same: to be at Toro Rosso in the future," he added.
"If for that to happen I pass through Caterham then I do so happily. It has been possible to race this year, but Red Bull is the one who decides. They and Caterham must also benefit and reach an agreement."
If Marko and Kolles ultimately shake hands, Sainz's F1 debut would be similar to the impressive Daniel Ricciardo's in 2011, when the Australian drove for the Kolles-run HRT team before switching to Toro Rosso.
"Getting F1 kilometers under your belt always helps," Sainz said, "no matter how good the team is.
"If they have considered it for me, it's a good sign that I'm doing things right."
07/10/14 (GMM) Talks about Carlos Sainz Jr immediately replacing a Caterham driver for the German grand prix and beyond took place at Silverstone last weekend.
Multiple Spanish sources are confirming the news, although they disagree about his chances.
According to El Mundo Deportivo, it is a very real "possibility", following talks between Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, Sainz's father Carlos Sainz, and new Caterham 'advisor' Colin Kolles.
Speculation says talks took place about forgiving Caterham's outstanding gearbox bills to Red Bull if Sainz, the latest cream of the energy drink company's junior program, stepped in immediately to replace Kamui Kobayashi.
"Nothing is final, nor is it the only option," the newspaper quoted a source close to 19-year-old Sainz.
"Currently, Carlos is focused on this weekend's round of the Renault world series, and then we will talk and see."
The Spanish sports daily AS admits that a Hockenheim debut for Sainz was initially a possibility, but a deal between Red Bull and Caterham was not agreed.
"So now the intention of Red Bull is that Sainz will step into the Toro Rosso on a Friday this year, and next year he will be a race driver," the report said.