Nico Rosberg calls Christian Horner ‘stingy’ in fresh Carlos Sainz to Red Bull speculation

Thomas Maher
Nico Rosberg and Carlos Sainz ahead of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg believes Carlos Sainz has got a "stingy" offer from Christian Horner for 2025...

Nico Rosberg maintains Carlos Sainz is trying to get more money out of Red Bull following a “stingy” offer from Christian Horner.

With Sainz scrabbling to find a new drive in Formula 1 for 2024, 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg says the Ferrari driver is trying to coax a better financial offer from Red Bull as negotiations are underway.

Nico Rosberg: Carlos Sainz ‘trying to get a couple more million’ from Christian Horner

Red Bull’s upper management have made their admiration of Carlos Sainz clear as the Spaniard was branded the team’s “nemesis” by Horner following Sainz’s victory at the Australian Grand Prix, as well as admitting the Ferrari driver is worth evaluating for a seat in 2025.

Red Bull is yet to confirm who will slot into the seat alongside Max Verstappen next year, although the favourite remains Sergio Perez. While the Mexican’s contract ends this year, Perez has stepped up his game considerably following a tough 2023 and has earned the praise of Horner and advisor Helmut Marko.

But it would be remiss of any team not to evaluate all the options, and Nico Rosberg said he believes the Sainz camp are in full negotiations with Red Bull about reuniting with the company that backed him through his junior career and gave him his first F1 seat as he debuted with Toro Rosso.

Speaking to Sky F1 during the broadcaster’s coverage of the Chinese Grand Prix, Rosberg said he had seen Horner engaged in conversation with Sainz’s famous father, Carlos senior, in the paddock.

“You know that they have an offer out to Carlos Sainz and I saw daddy Sainz speaking to Christian Horner yesterday,” Rosberg said.

“Because Christian Horner has apparently been a bit stingy on the offer. So, they’re trying to get a couple more million out of him!”

Sainz’s availability on the driver market comes at a good time for the current Ferrari driver, with plenty of teams having unconfirmed cockpits open at the same time the Spaniard is in the form of his life.

Sainz has been closely linked with a switch to Sauber ahead of their rebrand and takeover by Audi, with Helmut Marko claiming he has already received a “very lucrative offer” from Ingolstadt that Red Bull “cannot match or beat.”

Speaking in China ahead of the weekend, Horner’s viewpoint on Sainz was at odds with Marko as he claimed to not be aware of any offers that had been made by Audi to Sainz, but admitted: “One would assume that they’re going to be quite aggressive in the driver market.

“But, as you can tell with the level of interest that we have had from other drivers in our seats, for a driver of Carlos’ calibre, he wants to be in a winning car. And whilst we have one seat available for next year, his target, inevitably, is that seat.”

Speaking to media in China after the race, Horner reiterated his stance that Red Bull is not aware of the state of negotiations between Audi and Sainz and that he would expect confidentiality from a rival team if Red Bull were making a play for the Spaniard.

“We’re not aware of any offer,” he said.

“It’s not been disclosed to us what Audi may or may not have offered to Carlos and it would be inappropriate to comment on that.

“As I’m sure if we made an offer, it wouldn’t be disclosed to another team. So Carlos is on the open market for next year. He’s a hot prospect and no doubt many teams will be showing great interest. I think there are several that probably are.

“Honestly, no numbers have been disclosed.” recommends

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Carlos Sainz: It’s frustrating and uncomfortable

Without an assured future, Sainz is in the unusual position of being the only non-Red Bull race winner in the last 18 months while being unemployed for 2025.

The Spaniard said it’s a difficult circumstance to get to grips with, given the uncertainty of his immediate career future.

“I think, if it will be positive or negative, it will always depend on my performance,” he said in China.

“I think the good thing in this sport is that, if you perform well, normally things end up coming your way.

“It can be frustrating at times, I’m not going to lie. Going to bed some days without knowing what the future is going to bring, it’s sometimes frustrating, and uncomfortable.

“Other times, it’s exciting because there’s news every day – honestly, there are new things every day that come to you.

“The good thing is managing to separate things – performing well on track and leaving the other stuff to my management team.

“Things are progressing nicely but it shows how tough F1 is. Someone that maybe sees from the outside and says ‘The guy who is performing so well and still doesn’t know where he’s going to race next year’.

“In other sports, maybe these don’t happen so often also, it just shows F1 is a very particular sport – political in some ways, sport dependent in others, it is very particular in that way.

“But also exciting and also, in a way when Netflix puts it into the way they put it, it can be very exciting from the outside once you get to know the things that go [on] inside!”

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