Team principal Franz Tost has played down reports that Carlos Sainz Junior is ready to make the step up to Formula 1 with Toro Rosso.
Spaniard Sainz, whose namesake and father is the world rally legend, impressed recently as he tested for both the Faenza based team and big-brother Red Bull Racing during the young driver test at Silverstone.
Afterwards, the 18-year-old said he now has “a small percentage chance” of stepping up to Formula 1 next year.
And then in Hungary, although the meeting triggered the Fernando Alonso-to-Red Bull rumours, Sainz’s manager Luis Garcia Abad was spotted in conversation with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Toro Rosso chief Tost, however, suggested Sainz jr is not yet ready for Formula 1. Indeed, it is believed much more likely that, if the team has a vacancy for 2014, it will be filled by Antonio Felix da Costa.
“I told him (Sainz) that he needs to win races in GP3,” Tost is quoted by Speed Week.
“He is 18 years old now. I assume that he could be at Formula 1 maturity in about two or three years.
“He has not yet attained the results in GP3 that are expected of him,” he added.