Carlos Sainz says he was flattered but also welcomed the rumours of a potential Ferrari link but says ultimately his future is in the hands of Red Bull and Helmut Marko after the team took up the option to retain the Spaniard at Toro Rosso for 2017.
The 21-year-old had been in the frame as a potential replacement for Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari while interest had also been growing from Renault but it was swiftly halted by Red Bull when it decided to keep hold of Sainz for next season.
Sainz says like every F1 driver he dreams of competing for a top team but is content to bide his time at Toro Rosso if it is his best shot at progressing.
“I don't know what goes on in negotiations or in rumours because in the end if Renault wants me they know they need to go to Helmut Marko and not to me,” Sainz said. “In the end I have no power in taking these decisions.
“I don't know how much interest there was, how much of it was true or not. All I know is at the moment Red Bull wants me, they trust me and I must be very thankful for that because it means that in such a strong programme.
“Ferrari is a top team, of course it's good news that people want you there and you create a big desire that everybody wants you to go there. It's not a bad thing, for sure, of course I like it. But my future is Toro Rosso and hopefully Red Bull.”
With both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo tied to Red Bull contracts, Sainz's path to the top team appears to be blocked for at least next year but is optimistic Toro Rosso can increase its performance levels with Renault power units next season.
“If Renault next year provides an engine with the level of Mercedes, with the downforce Toro Rosso has maybe we have some surprises,” he said. “I think yes Toro Rosso doesn't have the name of a top team, of course I would like to be in a top team, but Toro Rosso is not yet there.
"Maybe next year we could be the Force Indias scoring podiums and all that kind of stuff. So it's not that bad.”