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Marko Sainz Tops Leclerc for Red Bull Comeback

Marko Rates Sainz Over Leclerc as Potential Red Bull Return

06/04/2024

Helmut Marko praises Carlos Sainz, ranking him above Charles Leclerc and spotlighting him as a prime candidate for a potential return to Red Bull Racing’s lineup. Red Bull keeps the door open for Carlos Sainz’s return to the fold.

Sainz, who was launched into Formula 1 by Dr. Helmut Marko alongside Max Verstappen, left Red Bull’s sphere and carved his path to Ferrari through Renault and McLaren.

However, just before the start of the 2024 season, Ferrari decided to sign Charles Leclerc again but not Sainz – replacing the latter with Lewis Hamilton for 2025.

At 29, Sainz finds himself “unemployed,” as he puts it, beyond this season.

In Jeddah, his father and manager were spotted leaving a meeting with Toto Wolff at Mercedes, and in Suzuka, Sainz himself was seen discussing with Marko.

“Sainz is a strong driver. He’s ambitious and highly motivated, firstly by his ousting from Ferrari, and then by the appendicitis ordeal.”

“Everything is falling into place for him right now; he’s at an incredible level.”

When asked who he believes is the best among the current Ferrari drivers, Marko answered: “Last year, it was definitely Leclerc. Now, I’d say it’s definitely Sainz. He’s certainly a driver to consider.”

Verstappen’s current teammate, Sergio Perez, has a contract – along with his various Mexican sponsors with Red Bull Racing – expiring in 2024.

When asked whether Perez should worry about his seat or, conversely, is nearing a new deal, Marko responded: “It’s far too early to speculate about that.”

“Normally, we don’t discuss driver decisions at all in April. All this was triggered by Hamilton’s very early decision to join Ferrari. But Mercedes and Red Bull can afford to wait before making a decision at the moment.”

“As for Sergio, last year, here in Japan in particular, was his worst race. Everything went wrong at that time, so I think it’s particularly satisfying for him today to be on the front line, so close to Max.”

“You can see he’s capable of doing it. But maybe the fact that next year’s contracts are at stake – this year much earlier than usual – also plays a role. It seems to be very motivating for him.”

For his part, Sainz stated in Suzuka that he believes the driver market for 2025 will take “a bit longer” to heat up than expected.

“That’s how it is. But now, the season is reaching a point where I’d like to move forward and start addressing issues, that is, to validate or not certain options. I don’t want to spend the whole year wavering between one thing and another.”

Sauber, soon to be Audi F1, gave Sainz just a few days to accept a contract offer for 2025 and beyond.

Without denying it, he responds: “Ideally, I’d have a winning car next year. But we must also remember that in 2026, everything changes again. So, I’m not just looking at 2025.”

Vasseur “not worried” about Leclerc’s form compared to Sainz

Currently, in Ferrari’s qualifying, the score is 2-1 in favor of the driver leaving the team at the end of the season (Carlos Sainz) compared to the one staying (Charles Leclerc).

Sainz has, of course, also claimed Ferrari’s last two race victories.

Is Fred Vasseur starting to worry about Leclerc’s form?

“I’m not worried at all.”

“Charles was 2nd in Australia last week, and I think 9 drivers on the grid would have expected to be 2nd last week.”

“Today, he’s a tenth behind Carlos, he knows exactly where he needs something. For now, it’s more about putting everything together in qualifying than anything else. The season is long, and I’m not worried about the situation at all.”

Marko Sainz Tops Leclerc for Red Bull Comeback

Marko: Sainz Tops Leclerc for Red Bull Comeback. Marko: Sainz Tops Leclerc for Red Bull Comeback.

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