Carlos Sainz does not expect his relationship with Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen to grow more tense despite the stakes getting higher in the Red Bull junior outfit in 2016.
Both drivers enjoyed a positive rookie F1 season in Faenza, with the pair also getting on well off track. However, their team’s very own raison d’être remains to nurture young talents so its parent company can cherry-pick its future line-ups.
And Red Bull has never waited for more than two years before promoting Toro Rosso’s standout graduates to Milton Keynes.
“The relationship both Max and myself have you will see good fights on track, good fights in qualifying and things like that but the respect should stay the same,” Sainz told F1i during an exclusive interview.
“The relationship should remain the same. We are both mature enough, obviously with our age it shouldn’t be like that but I think we are both mature enough to handle the situation and hopefully we can keep it as clean and as nice as last year.”
This usually means the end of the line in a Red Bull career, as highlighted by the fates of Sébastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, or Jean-Eric Vergne, but Sainz is not eager to start looking for options elsewhere.
“It’s very hard, especially because Red Bull has been supporting my whole career for the last six years. They are the ones that trusted you and put you in a Formula One car.
“It was not Mercedes, not Ferrari, not Williams, not Renault, it was Red Bull who invested in you and put you in a Formula One car and said ‘Go for it, you have all my confidence’.”