Away from the Lewis Hamilton hysteria, there is one man who will be feeling more hard done by than anyone within Ferrari.
Carlos Sainz, a man who has driven for Ferrari since 2021, was a noticeable afterthought for the Italian constructor.
In their statement announcing Hamilton’s arrival, not once did they mention Sainz. No thank you for your service, no wish you all the well for your future, no nothing.
Of course, more will likely have been said behind closed doors but as details emerge from the Ferrari pursuit of Hamilton, Sainz will feel like he was fighting a losing battle.
Ferrari first set their sights on Hamilton for a 2023 seat, suggesting negotiations would have been taking place at the latest during 2022 or put in another way, just one year after Sainz had arrived. It was within that season that Sainz secured his first win and a year before he would be the only non-Red Bull driver to achieve victory.
Even now, three days after the announcement was made, the only public acknowledgement of Sainz’s departure was a tweet stating “we’ve still got one more season to give it everything together.”
Ferrari’s pursuit of Hamilton is perfectly justified, as is replacing Sainz rather than Charles Leclefc. For the former, he will be the team’s first World Champion in five years. A genuine superstar and one that it is hoped will elevate the team to new levels.
But it is not just his sporting credentials either. Not since Michael Schumacher has there been a star like Lewis Hamilton. To many, F1 is Hamilton and the way the news bled across demographics on Thursday was evidence of that.
And as to why Sainz, not Leclerc, is heading out the door, Ferrari have already shoved out Sebastian Vettel to make room for Leclerc who they quite clearly see as the team’s future.
Understandably too, Leclerc’s abilities are often ranked amongst the best on the grid and if he is not quite in the bracket of the Verstappens and the Hamiltons, he is currently knocking on the door.
So there is no judgement of the decision but instead the manner of it and the disrespect shown to a driver who has been nothing but good for the team.
Compare this, then, to the way McLaren reacted when Sainz departed in 2020. The Spaniard had driven for the Working side for just two seasons, achieved less statistically than his Ferrari stint, and yet still they recorded a send-off video asking Ferrari to treat him well. That request clearly fell on deaf ears.
It is not just in the manner of the departure either, but the stringing along of Sainz while they worked on a Hamilton deal behind closed doors. Even up until the end of the 2023 season, team principal Fred Vasseur assured the media that Sainz’s contract was on his to-do list, knowing meanwhile John Elkann was trying to cross the Ts and dot the Is on the Hamilton deal.
As to how much of this Sainz was aware of, only he and his representatives will know, but if he was kept in the dark, it is not a great look for Ferrari and one that will have hurt Sainz’s chances of getting a seat in 2025.
Where will Carlos Sainz go in 2025?
Luckily for Sainz, there is no shortage of options in 2025 with 13 seats up for grabs.
The obvious ones to rule out are at Visa RB who will likely stick with Yuki Tsunoda or Daniel Ricciardo and bring on Liam Lawson. Haas have two spots open but unless there is serious improvement this season, they will be the least attractive team to join.
While Sainz is probably the best available driver for Mercedes, it would not be a great look to sign the rejected driver of a team that has just poached your superstar so that too seems an unlikely destination.
His former outfit Red Bull have a vacancy but it is doubtful whether they will opt to bring in Sainz considering the many drivers they already have.
Unless he makes a shock move to Mercedes, Sainz’s compatriot Fernando Alonso seems certain to extend his deal at Aston Martin while Lance Stroll’s rolling contract looks unlikely to stop rolling anytime soon.
Alpine have two drivers who are both younger than Sainz, fit the brand better and have just one fewer win so that would seem an unlikely route as well.
So the clear contender by far is Stake. The rebranded Sauber team are in an interim period until Audi arrives in 2026 and who already drives for Audi? Sainz’s father.
The German constructor could be a game-changer in 2026 with their own power unit supply so Sainz would most likely be open to the project now that the Ferrari door is closed.
Time will tell where Sainz ends up but hopefully wherever he goes, he will be treated with more respect than he was at Ferrari.