Red Bull ‘nemesis’ Carlos Sainz catches Christian Horner’s attention for F1 2025 seat

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz is reportedly on the Red Bull and Mercedes shortlist

Christian Horner has said it’s impossible to rule out “any possibility” after Carlos Sainz’s controlled win in Australia.

Sainz won the Australian Grand Prix in emphatic fashion, taking the lead away from Max Verstappen as the Dutch driver struggled with a brake issue before his retirement, with the Ferrari driver leading home teammate Charles Leclerc.

Carlos Sainz win grabs Christian Horner’s attention

Sainz’s win is only the second non-Red Bull victory between the 2023 and ’24 seasons, with the Ferrari driver having also won last year’s Singapore Grand Prix as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were both unable to join in the fight at the front.

Despite this success, Sainz is currently unemployed for 2025 as Ferrari opted against re-signing him alongside Charles Leclerc and instead turned to Lewis Hamilton for a sensational switch that has left Sainz scrabbling for a new job.

Having got the better of Leclerc all weekend in Australia on his first weekend back from having his appendix removed, his drive resulted in Red Bull boss Christian Horner opting against ruling out the chance of Sainz joining his team for next year.

Sainz, a former Red Bull junior who raced with Toro Rosso until late 2017, has had his name tenuously linked with the currently unconfirmed second cockpit at Red Bull that’s currently occupied by Sergio Perez.

Perez’s contract is also up for renewal for 2025, and came into the season fully informed that he needs a much better season this year than he had in 2023 as he struggled for pace and consistency alongside Max Verstappen.

So far, Perez has performed, but Sainz is a possibility if Red Bull do decide to look elsewhere.

Speaking to the media following the Australian Grand Prix, Horner opted against speculating on the futures of Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda due to it being “too early in the season”, but was pressed on the topic of whether he’d be interested in hiring the “very fast unemployed driver that won today”.

“We want to field the best pairing we can with Red Bull Racing so, sometimes, you got to look outside the pool as well,” Horner said.

“The market is reasonably fluid in certain parts.

“I mean, based on a performance like that, you couldn’t rule any possibility out.

“So I think, we just want to take the time and, obviously, Checo [Perez] was compromised today and has had a great start to the season too so we’re not in any desperate rush.”

With Red Bull having lost their first race since Singapore, Horner laughed at the fact it was Sainz who once again had toppled Red Bull from their perch.

“Carlos Sainz again!” he said.

“I mean, Carlos is the only driver that’s beaten Red Bull in the last… so he appears to be our nemesis!” recommends

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Carlos Sainz: Winning like this is going to help find a job

Speaking in the post-race press conference after his win, Sainz was asked whether his Australian GP victory is going to help him in his negotiations in the driver market as he bids to find a new seat.

“I don’t know. For sure, it does no harm,” he said.

“That is 100 percent. But yeah, I’m still without a job for next year. So I guess this is going to help it. And yeah, I don’t know.

“I think everyone knows more or less what I’m capable of doing. I do race for myself. I race to keep proving to myself that I can win whenever I get a competitive car and whenever there’s an opportunity to win in a weekend.

“I don’t race to prove to team principals or to prove to people my value. I race to prove to myself that if I’m given a car, I can get it done and I can be up there, you know, and that’s the mentality and the approach that I have and I will keep having the rest of the year.”

As for whether he feels underrated in the paddock, given Red Bull were previously willing to let him go, and now Ferrari has done the same, Sainz offered his thoughts.

“I think people that know me or have shared a team with me or people that have worked with me, know me and I don’t feel underrated by people that know about this sport,” he said.

“Then other people that maybe don’t have an insight and don’t know as much about this sport, if they want to underrate me, I’m fine with that.

“I don’t care honestly, but I care about the people that know the sport well and about my team-mates, the people that have seen my data, seen how I work, seen my speed, and that’s the thing I care about, and I don’t feel underrated by them.”

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