Its all change at Caterham at the moment and even the drivers’ job security is seemingly at a premium, as Red Bull Youngster Carlos Sainz Jr has confirmed that he is talking to Caterham about obtaining a race seat before the end of this season. The 19-year-old is one of the hottest prospects outside of the sport at the moment, as the Spaniard is currently leading the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, in what is his first season in the series. Therefore, its no surprise that Mr.Mateschitz and company are looking to fast track the youngster into Formula One.
Evaluating Sainz’s Chances
While in-season driver changes are very rare, they are not unprecedented – especially in struggling outfits such as Caterham. Lets not forget, current sensation Daniel Ricciardo’s career started when he was drafted into a seat at HRT in 2011, when he replaced the out-of-favour Narain Karthikeyan ahead of the British Grand Prix. Immediately after his short 2011 campaign, the Aussie found his way into the Toro Rosso and you all know how the story ends.
Red Bull therefore, have a history of incorporating other teams in the development of their young talent and Caterham seem to a shoe-in for Sainz Jr. The rookie is certainly the hottest prospect in junior formula at the moment, with a strong campaign so far in the ever challenging FR3.5 series. While we have seen many drivers’ careers stall upon taking a drive at a troubled team, if Sainz was to take a role at Caterham, the situation would be different. He would have the backing of Red Bull, who have proved to be a powerful ally, and I would imagine that a seat at Caterham this season would be followed by a stint at Toro Rosso, particularly since Jean-Eric Vergne seems to be on borrowed time. Yes, the amount of talent which enters Formula One through Dr Helmut Marko’s School of Hard Knocks is so vast that even the likes of Jean Eric Vergne’s career is in danger of reaching an impasse.
How about a Kvyat and Sainz Jr partnership for 2015? It would be incredibly inexperienced, but it would be packed full of potential. I would be willing to bet that one of the two aforementioned drivers will be the next driver to ascend to Red Bull and if Sainz Jr could get a head start at Caterham, it would stand him in good stead to challenge the remarkable talent that is Daniil Kvyat. Watch this space…