Jun.22 (GMM) Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said he would be happy if the Faenza team lined up with the same drivers in 2017.
It looks almost certain that team owner Red Bull will trigger the automatic 1-year extension of Carlos Sainz’s contract, with an announcement expected imminently.
“It’s very, very close,” Tost told the Spanish broadcaster Movistar when asked about the extension for Sainz after an impressive first year and a half in F1 for the Spaniard.
“I think he will soon be officially confirmed,” the Austrian has now declared at the FIA sport conference in Turin.
Whether Sainz’s current teammate Daniil Kvyat will also stay, however, is much less certain.
The 22-year-old Russian was demoted from Red Bull’s main team earlier this year and he has been making noises about wanting to move on for 2017.
Tost said: “In the end, Red Bull decides on the driver who can bring the best performance for the team and ultimately for Red Bull.”
When asked if Red Bull’s next young hotshot – the GP2 frontrunner Pierre Gasly – could replace Kvyat for 2017, Tost admitted: “Could be.
“Personally, I hope Kvyat stays with us because I think he is a really good driver. But he must also feel good so we will see what the future brings.”
Tost indicated that Kvyat has been given a second chance by Red Bull because he may have been promoted to the top team slightly too soon.
“Ideally, it would have been better if he had stayed at Toro Rosso,” said the Austrian, “but it was not expected that Sebastian Vettel would go (to Ferrari).
“In hindsight one is always wiser,” Tost added.
“But he can be happy about is that Red Bull has two teams, otherwise he would not be outside of F1.”
He backed Kvyat to bounce back from the disappointment of losing his Red Bull seat and do “a good job” for the rest of 2016.
“At the beginning he was quite shocked, but now he’s back in good shape,” said Tost. “We had many meetings and discussions because we all know that Daniil is a very fast and talented driver.”