Max Verstappen ‘not eager’ to have Carlos Sainz as team-mate, claims Dutch pundit

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

Could Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz be reunited as F1 team-mates next year?

Dutch F1 pundit Ernest Knoors believes Max Verstappen would not be “eager” to reunite with Carlos Sainz as his team-mate next season, given the “politics” and “pressure” that it might bring.

Verstappen and Sainz were paired together as rookies at Toro Rosso back in 2015, and Sainz is currently “jobless”, as he put it, for 2025, but is likely to be attracting interest after a stellar start to the season.

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz at Red Bull? An ‘interesting’ proposition

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted that Sainz could be among the candidates to partner Verstappen in 2025, the former Red Bull-affiliated driver having been something of a “nemesis” for his old employers as the only non-Red Bull race winner since mid-2022.

But given that Sainz is likely to be one of many candidates considered by Red Bull, not least current driver Sergio Perez, whom Horner and the team have stressed that the seat is ‘his to lose’ for 2025, they have no shortage of options for who to place alongside the three-time World Champion.

But former Ferrari engineer Knoors pointed out that, if Verstappen’s own future would lie elsewhere, then Sainz would be a strong bet to sign for Red Bull next season anyway.

“I think this is a very interesting one,” Knoors said to the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.

“I think you also have to see this a bit in Christian Horner and the power struggle with Helmut Marko, and Red Bull Thailand and Red Bull Austria.

“If Christian feels Max Verstappen and Jos Verstappen and camp Helmut Marko are putting a bit of pressure on him, then you could say: ‘Well, someone like Carlos Sainz. If I bring that in, then I have someone with whom I can potentially become champion.’

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“That’s what he would think, and then it would actually increase the pressure on Max.

“I don’t really think Max is eager to have Carlos Sainz as a team-mate. I think there’s a lot of politics involved in that, and Christian is obviously very smart politically.”

“I don’t think it would be the best choice or the most obvious choice as Max’s teammate, but if Max would really actually say, ‘I’m going somewhere else’, with Carlos Sainz you will have a very good driver.

“You can force something on Max with this. It is a politically charged season though.”

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