Reigning world champion Max Verstappen and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz spent just 23 Grand Prixs in the same team, but their relationship has reportedly been termed “toxic” by Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.
Marko, who plays a central role in Red Bull’s recruitment program, was also responsible for the two drivers participating in the same team.
Back in 2015, Marko had taken what many felt was a gamble in handing both Verstappen and Sainz a chance to race together at Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso.
However, the partnership started off on the wrong foot, as Marko goes on to explain.
“It was his [Sainz’s] bad luck to get Max as a teammate,” Marko said.
“The atmosphere between the two at Toro Rosso was quite toxic.
“In the set-up we had at the time, I couldn’t see a way of keeping him with us and so he moved to Renault, McLaren and then on to Ferrari.”
What happened to Sainz after Max was promoted to Red Bull?
The next year, Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull’s team to partner Daniel Ricciardo.
Daniil Kvyat was asked to join Sainz at Toro Rosso.
However, with Red Bull no longer a plausible option for the Spanish driver, he eventually switched bases to Renault in 2017.
Marko believes Sainz was never able to deliver at Toro Rosso since he was weighed down by the lofty expectations of being the son of such a prolific driver.
“For a long time, he lived in the shadow of his father, the two-time world rally champion,” Marko said.
“He was unfairly saddled with the image of being the spoiled son of a racing driver whereas, on the contrary, Carlos had to fight consistently to get ahead.”