Carlos Sainz admits that the idea of racing at Toro Rosso for a fourth consecutive year isn't a very enticing prospect.
The talented Red Bull junior is rumored to be on several teams' shortlist for 2018, including McLaren, but Helmut Marko recently reminded F1 that Sainz is under contract for 2018 with the energy drink company which has every intention of keeping the Spaniard in its bull pen.
"It's no secret that my sporting career depends on Helmut Marko and Red Bull," Sainz told El Mundo Deportivo.
"But I do not think that will affect my future.
"I do not close the door to anyone but I know that a fourth year in Toro Rosso is extremely difficult because it's never been done before.
Driver contracts, as 'water-tight' as they may be, can always be the subject of negotiation between two willing parties, especially if the driver in question appears unwilling to pursue a collaboration with his team.
With no opportunity to step up to Red Bull Racing, with both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen staying in their seat next season, Sainz may just force the issue and convince his employers to set him free.
"I think both Red Bull and I want to take a step forward," Sainz added.
"It would be stupid to close the door to any F1 team, but I do not hide that my goal is to take a step, and if that step is Red Bull or elsewhere, I don't know yet."