Carlos Sainz is not ruling out staying with Toro Rosso in 2017.
The impressive Spaniard has always targeted a move up to the senior team Red Bull, but last month he watched his teammate Max Verstappen get the call.
And now, reports are doing the rounds that Red Bull Racing has locked in its current driver lineup, completed by Australian Daniel Ricciardo, for not only 2017 but also 2018.
“I see they want to keep Ricciardo and Verstappen,” Sainz, 21, told the Spanish broadcaster Movistar in Baku.
“The door at Red Bull seems a bit closed, but it does not change my plans,” he insisted. “I will keep trying because in formula one you never know what can happen.”
Indeed, Sainz has even been linked with potential moves to either Renault or Ferrari for 2017, even though on Thursday he said it is too early for that kind of “silly season” talk.
“I know that Red Bull are happy with me so there is no reason why I cannot continue in Toro Rosso next year,” he said.
“We will have to wait a little longer until the summer. There are important races coming up and I want to do well. Then we’ll see.
“But there is no doubt that I want to go to a big team soon,” Sainz admitted.
As for this weekend, Sainz said the street layout in Azerbaijan – with its incredible, 2 kilometre straight – is not likely to suit Toro Rosso’s 2015-spec Ferrari engine.
“This is the worst circuit for Toro Rosso,” he said.
“There is no 120 or 130kph corner, which is the best for us, and any team without a Mercedes is going to lose time on that straight,” Sainz added.
Meanwhile, Italy’s Autosprint reports that Renault has opened talks with current Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen about a two-year deal starting in 2017.