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Helmut Marko

Marko: Red Bull pulled Verstappen and Sainz apart over 'toxic' relationship

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz are both embarking on their tenth Formula 1 season. After all, they debuted at Toro Rosso at the same time, in 2015.

Verstappen-Sainz-2015-Toro-Rosso
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Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko has revealed Carlos Sainz's time as part of the team's stable of drivers was ended due to a "toxic" relationship with Max Verstappen.

The Ferrari driver began his F1 career at Toro Rosso, with Verstappen joining the team as a teenager for the 2015 season.

But the relationship between the duo deteriorated rapidly and whilst the Dutchman was quickly promoted to Red Bull after just four races of his second season, Sainz was jettisoned to Renault.

The Spaniard has since wound up at Ferrari via McLaren, securing the only non-Red Bull victory last season with a stunning triumph at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Asked why his time as part of the Red Bull programme came to an end, Marko told Marca: "The atmosphere between those two was quite toxic at Toro Rosso.

"With the team composition as it was then, I saw no way we could keep Carlos for us. So that's how he ended up at Ferrari via Renault and McLaren."

Spoiled rich kid

Sainz's father, Carlos Sr, recently picked up his fourth Dakar Rally victory to continue his own legacy as a sporting legend, though Carlos Jr has often lived in his shadow.

This has led to what Marko believes as unjust tags to his name.

"He is undeniably a great driver. He was almost on the same level as Max in that Toro Rosso, but his bad luck was that precisely - Verstappen was his teammate."

"For a long time, he lived in the shadow of his father. He was unfairly labelled a spoiled rich kid, that while he has had to constantly struggle to get where he is today.

"In the junior categories, he was already dead fast and in his first F1 test at Silverstone, from the start, he was just a bit faster than Sebastian Vettel in the fast corners at the time when Seb was the benchmark for us."

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