Carlos Sainz says he has "a lot of trust" that Red Bull will do the right thing for his future when he starts negotiating about 2018 and beyond later this year.
Sainz was promoted into Formula One by Red Bull in 2015 and placed in junior team Toro Rosso, where he is currently competing for the third season. Last year he was overlooked by Red Bull as it decided to promote Max Verstappen to the senior outfit, swapping the teenager with Daniil Kvyat.
Despite being linked to Ferrari and Renault in 2016 Sainz was eventually retained by Toro Rosso and he expects this year's discussions will begin before summer break.
"It depends about how much time goes by," he told Racer about those talks. "If Red Bull haven't come to me in October for sure I will have to go to them, but I'm pretty sure [they will]. Last year they came to me in June, around Baku, to sign my option, and over the summer in Formula 1 usually these sort of things start to happen. So I'm not very impatient at the moment.
"If they execute it then it's tight for me [to say no], but I have a lot of trust in Helmut Marko and in Red Bull that they're going to do the right thing for my future, not only for the future of Red Bull but for my personal future.
"They are proud also of how much I've developed as a driver with them, and I'm super-grateful to Helmut Marko about how I've grown thanks to him. He's given me a lot of tips, so I don't think there will be any misunderstanding or any miscommunication -- I don't know how to put it -- any fighting, because it's bad for all of us."
Sainz has scored all but four of the 29 points next to Toro Rosso's name after seven races and is considered to be one of the brightest talents not currently occupying a top drive. However, a step up to Red Bull for 2018 looks unlikely while the team has Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo at the helm.
Though the Spaniard is open to the possibility of a fourth season at Toro Rosso he hints that he would welcome the chance to move to a team further up the grid. "It depends, everything depends. I'm never going to say never to Toro Rosso, they've formed me as a driver and I'm really proud of what they've done with me, and where we are now. So I'm never going to close the door on Toro Rosso, I'm never going to say I'm not going to drive for Toro Rosso in 2018, because it would be stupid for me to close a door that, at the moment, looks like it's open.
"So the Toro Rosso option is there; hopefully more options will come, together with Red Bull we'll analyse them, and that is where the decision-making starts. At the moment it's a bit stupid for me to start thinking about potential options for 2018 when we've only done one-third [of the races] and I'm doing such a great season. I have to keep enjoying this year, because up until now it's my best one in Formula One."