F1 analysis: Why Red Bull's Verstappen shuffle is good for Sainz

Look at the Max Verstappen/Daniil Kvyat Red Bull driver swap at face value and it doesn't seem great for Toro Rosso's other driver, Carlos Sainz Jr

F1 analysis: Why Red Bull's Verstappen shuffle is good for Sainz

Usually, if one driver gets a promotion to Red Bull's top team, it means the other is just counting down his days to heading for the F1 scrap heap. But that doesn't need to be the case this time.

While Red Bull has clearly been very keen on Verstappen since it snatched him up during his rookie car racing season in 2014, it's also well aware of Sainz's ability, and the misfortune that has struck him during his time alongside the teenager so far in his F1 career.

The understandable excitement around Verstappen - both inside and outside of Red Bull - has created a circus-like atmosphere at times, but now all that fuss moves along the pitlane to the big team's garage.

Has Red Bull done the right thing?

Sainz can get back to focusing on his job and his own career progression, and perhaps his achievements and performances can be judged in isolation rather than in the shadow of what Verstappen is up to.

In Kvyat he has a useful measuring stick, but one he must surpass if he is to turn this apparent snub into an opportunity.

Toro Rosso will be a calmer place without the Verstappen/Sainz dynamic to manage, and there is no reason Sainz can't flourish alongside the likeable Kvyat, and assert himself in a way that might have been difficult to achieve with Verstappen's camp on the other side of the garage.

While that is going on, Verstappen will be taking on the biggest bull in the yard in Daniel Ricciardo, who is going to be no walkover.

Toro Rosso's 'other' young gun can't be ignored

If either one of those two dominates the other over the course of this year, an opening could appear for Sainz to seize, providing he continues to perform in the junior team.

Red Bull still has faith in Sainz, and it just wants him to get on with his job. He has a better opportunity to do that now the landscape around him has been shaken up.

WHAT HAPPENED TO TORO ROSSO'S DRIVERS?
By Ian Parkes

Sainz is Toro Rosso's 11th driver since the team's debut in 2006. Here's how the other 10 have fared over the last decade:

Vitantonio Liuzzi
After a four-race stint with Red Bull in 2005, Liuzzi joined STR for its debut season the following year, competing in two campaigns before making way at the end of '07. He joined Force India late in '09, moving on to HRT in '11.

Scott Speed
Stepped up to Toro Rosso in '06 after a year as Red Bull test driver in '05, but was axed midway through his second season in '07 for Sebastian Vettel. Failed to return to F1, with the bulk of his career since spent in America.

Sebastian Vettel
After replacing Speed, Vettel went on to score Toro Rosso's only win in Italy in 2008, leading to promotion to Red Bull the following year. Four world titles followed, and then a move to Ferrari ahead of the '15 season.

Sebastien Bourdais
The four-time Champ Car champion from replaced Liuzzi in '08, and like Speed was given just a season and a half before being released after scoring just six points from 27 races.

Jaime Alguersuari
Prior to Max Verstappen, Alguersuari held the honour as the youngest driver to compete in F1 when he made his debut in 2009 as replacement for Bourdais. He spent two and a half seasons with Toro Rosso prior to his departure. Alguersuari became Pirelli test driver and had a season in FE before retiring from motorsport in October last year.

Sebastien Buemi
Spent three seasons with Toro Rosso, and despite enjoying his best year in the last of those in 2011 was ultimately released. Has since competed in WEC, becoming champion with Toyota in '14, and was second in the inaugural FE season.

Daniel Ricciardo
The Australian became the second junior driver after Vettel to make the step up to Red Bull in 2014 after two year with Toro Rosso, winning three races in his first season with RBR.

Jean-Eric Vergne
Like Buemi, enjoyed the longest spell of any driver with Toro Rosso of three seasons, but was let go at the end of 2014. Also like Buemi, Vergne moved across to FE, finishing seventh in last year's standings, and he is now a Ferrari F1 test driver.

Daniil Kvyat
Received the fastest promotion of any Toro Rosso driver as he completed one full season only before replacing Vettel at Red Bull, and is the first to be demoted back to Toro Rosso to make way for Max Verstappen's rise.

Max Verstappen
The youngest driver in F1 history only has 23 races under his belt, but he is now with Red Bull after following in the footsteps of Vettel, Ricciardo and Kvyat in being promoted from Toro Rosso.

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