Toro Rosso still open to team orders, but only if necessary

Toro Rosso has told its drivers that it will try to avoid imposing any team orders in the future, unless they are on vastly different race strategies where position swaps are essential.

The Italian outfit endured a controversial start to the season when Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz came together on track amid a frustrating second half to the Australian Grand Prix.

After the race, it emerged that Verstappen was upset that Sainz had ignored an order to move over, although the Spaniard was adamant he did the right thing in not giving up the position.

Driver talks

In a bid to ensure the rivalry did not escalate, Toro Rosso has held talks with both its drivers, and team principal Franz Tost has made it clear that his team will no longer impose any team orders that are not essential.

"Generally, at Toro Rosso, we don't want to come up with a team order if it is not necessary," he told Motorsport.com.

"If they are out on the same strategy and it is the end of the race, then we do not want to come up and say switch positions or whatever.

"If we see that it could be an advantage for the team, then of course we will give the team order. But we are flexible there. We keep it open."

Sainz happy

Sainz said on Thursday that he was pleased that the team's stance had been made clear, which meant there was no uncertainty going forward.

"We have both clarified what is expected from us, what we have to do in the coming races and then it will hopefully not be an issue any more," he said.

"I don't have any issues with the team and at the last race I didn't have any issues with Max, because I was just doing my race - and it happened and Max was around and having some problems.

"Honestly I don't have problems with anyone. I think I followed every procedure and race code."

Speaking about the team orders situation, Sainz said he would be more than happy to fight Verstappen wheel-to-wheel for position from now on, rather than expect his team to intervene.

"If we are not on the same strategy, if we are on different strategies and Max is coming behind me, if he is on the supersoft and I'm on the medium, there would be no point fighting him.

"But if we are on the same strategy, we are both on the same tyre, stopping more or less on the same lap and same tyres until the end of the race I will be more than happy to fight with Max for position: just like with the other 21 drivers that are out there.

"I came to Formula 1 fight the best 21 drivers of the world. That is what excites me. Not to be asked by someone to let someone pass."

Starting from zero

Tost is confident that the Australian GP issues have been put to bed and that Sainz and Verstappen are now well set to do their best for the team.

"Of course after such a race you sit together," he explained. "You go through all the different topics: why, what happened. And we clarified everything.

"For me, nothing special happened there. Both drivers are very young and both drivers are with passion, doing their job. Sometimes the emotions are coming a little bit more in the picture.

"But generally speaking I am quite confident and I am sure that everything is being sorted out and that we start from zero here. And then we will see."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Track Bahrain International Circuit
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. , Max Verstappen
Teams Toro Rosso
Article type Breaking news