Helmut Marko says growing unease in the relationship between Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz was a factor in the decision to swap the Dutchman with Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull Racing team.
Red Bull yesterday announced that Verstappen will step up from Toro Rosso from next week's Spanish Grand Prix, with Kvyat heading in the other direction.
Though much of the focus on the decision has been centred on the performance of Kvyat – a podium winner just two races earlier – and assuring the future of Verstappen within the Red Bull fold, Marko told Motorsport-Total.de
that the straining relationship between the youngster and his Toro Rosso team-mate Sainz is also a significant reason.
“There was a considerable unrest at Toro Rosso between Verstappen and Sainz,” he said. “Thus we have internally done several problems.”
The Red Bull advisor, however, does say Kvyat's inconsistent form this year, despite his third place finish in Shanghai, was also a prelude to the switch, adding that the Russian was suffering with the 'internal pressure' he had created for himself.
“It was primarily a measure to take away the pressure of Daniil, who this year is not at the same performance as last year - he was in average three to five tenths slower than Ricciardo [this year]. Last year he was at eye level.
“He was very inconsistent, had many ups and downs. It passed, as has been seen in China, but he has himself so pressured that these fluctuations come automatically The crash in Sochi is a consequence of the internal pressure, which he has built himself. That did not come from us.”
Indeed, Marko says moving Kvyat to Toro Rosso is mutually beneficial for all concerned since he will still be driving a car capable of strong results.
“Our luxury is that we have the ability to set it up for Toro Rosso again. Kvyat is not out but he is still with us in the squad. Toro Rosso is a good midfield team that has potential for the points.”
Verstappen and Sainz are considered to have fallen out at this year's Australian Grand Prix when Verstappen was caught behind his team-mate and demanded to be allowed past. Culminating in Verstappen spinning after making contact with the Spaniard, Sainz later expressed his frustration at what he felt was an 'unnecessary' outburst