Formula 1: Ferrari's Carlos Sainz reportedly in talks with Williams for 2025

Carlos Sainz has been evaluating his options after reports that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes for Ferrari to join Charl
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Carlos Sainz jumps off his Ferrari after Grand Prix victory
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz celebrates after winning the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, September 17. (REUTERS)
Carlos Sainz jumps off his Ferrari after Grand Prix victory
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz celebrates after winning the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, September 17.

Williams has emerged as a surprise contender to sign Carlos Sainz, who will depart Ferrari's Formula 1 team after this season.

Sainz has reportedly received an offer from Sauber-Audi while also holding out hope that an opportunity might arise with Mercedes or Red Bull. However, Motorsport.com reported on Thursday that the Spaniard has been in discussions with Williams, which recently re-signed Alex Albon to a multi-year deal.

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Sainz has been evaluating his options since the bombshell announcement in February that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes for Ferrari, where he will join Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull is widely expected to re-sign Sergio Perez for 2025 alongside Max Verstappen, while Mercedes is believed to be leaning toward elevating junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli to replace Hamilton.

Sauber has reportedly offered Sainz a multi-year deal that would keep him with the team through its transition to the Audi works team in 2026. But Motorsport.com reported that Williams team principal James Vowles has also been outlining his vision for improving its place on the grid.

A major part of that vision is its customer engine deal with Mercedes for 2026, with Vowles recently acknowledging that his focus is more on 2027 and beyond than on the next few years.

"I'm going to just put all the options on the table and make the right decision," Sainz said ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix. "I can just tell you that, once I open my mind up, everything will happen very quickly. It's all about putting everything together that I feel like I need on my next new contract."

The Motorsport.com report also came on the heels of Sky Sports reporter Craig Slater saying that the Mercedes door is all but closed for Sainz.

"Why isn't Carlos Sainz going to Mercedes? That conversation has already been had as I understand it and the timescale Mercedes are working towards in terms of making their decision doesn't fit with what Carlos Sainz wants himself," Slater said, per F1i.com.

"He wants his contract situation sorted in the next few weeks rather than months."

Verstappen has been the subject of constant rumors tied to Mercedes' second seat, but Red Bull repeatedly has dismissed them while Verstappen has said he intends to honor his contract that runs through 2028.

Several veteran drivers also have been mentioned as possible options to race alongside George Russell if Mercedes team principal and CEO Toto Wolff looks for a one-year stopgap in 2025. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old Antonelli is going through a rigorous private testing program to get him familiarised with F1 speed and machinery.

"If Mercedes cannot get Verstappen, my understanding is Kimi Antonelli will have that seat next year," Slater said. "That means you can discount some of the other names mentioned.

"Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon, even Valtteri Bottas. Kimi Antonelli only turns 18 in August but might he even be in F1 this year? There's that potential.

"However, he is in a position if Mercedes cannot get Verstappen to be driving alongside George Russell in 2025. That one probably not decided until August or September."

First Published Date: 25 May 2024, 07:36 AM IST
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