Carlos Sainz-Red Bull negotiations hint at Christian Horner winning internal political battle, according to F1 pundit

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco
Carlos at the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco

F1 pundit Craig Slater feels that the Carlos Sainz-Red Bull negotiations hint at Christian Horner gaining the upper hand in the internal political battle. Earlier in the season, the Austrian team faced a public dispute when Horner was under investigation internally for alleged misconduct towards an employee.

Since then, it has become clear that Red Bull has been divided internally into two factions, with Christian Horner on one side, and Helmut Marko and Jos Verstappen on the other. After a few public outbursts, the tensions appear to have subsided between the two parties.

There is, however, one thing that has emerged out of it, which is Christian Horner taking more control of Red Bull Racing. Craig Slater felt that this was apparent in Carlos Sainz's negotiations with the team as well. Talking about how the dynamics of negotiations changed, Chris revealed that Carlos first had his discussions with Helmut Marko.

Later, however, the point of contact at Red Bull changed from Helmut Marko to Christian Horner, a sign of a change in dynamics within the team. Talking about the Carlos Sainz negotiations with the Austrian squad, Slater said on Sky Sports,

“This was a very much desired seat in Formula 1 and even speaking to people in the office when I got the news, there was a bit of disappointment that Carlos Sainz is not going to be opposite Max Verstappen. He had been holding out for this seat. My understanding from his representatives was it had been hot and cold, hot and cold over the last few months. Red Bull seemed interested, then they were a bit more detached again."

He added,

“Interestingly, the point of contact Sainz’s negotiators had with Red Bull changed from Dr Helmut Marko to Christian Horner himself. Now, is that a sign potentially, that if there had been this internal power struggle at Red Bull, that Christian Horner has clearly emerged as the winner here?"

Loyalty towards Christian Horner tilted the balance from Carlos Sainz to Sergio Perez

Slater also felt that Sergio Perez's loyalty towards Christian Horner was also rewarded in this move. The Mexican had been vocal in his support for the Red Bull team principal earlier in the season, and this loyalty might have influenced the outcome in his favor over Carlos Sainz.

Questioning if Helmut Marko could have been a more favorable party in getting Carlos Sainz a seat at Red Bull, Slater said,

“Checo Perez, amongst other things, had been staunchly loyal to Christian Horner through all his issues at the start of this year. I think it certainly is a Christian Horner choice, that is clear. Maybe if Dr Marko had had the casting vote here, might someone else have been in that seat opposite Verstappen? Who knows. But continuity it is.”

Sainz does find himself at a crossroads this season because his future continues to be in limbo. The driver has driven brilliantly for Ferrari, but with Lewis Hamilton getting the nod, the Spaniard does find himself struggling for viable options.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now