Carlos Sainz’s two-team wishlist for F1 2025 after ‘hard’ Lewis Hamilton ‘blow’

Oliver Harden
Carlos Sainz talks to Lewis Hamilton during the press conference in Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton will join Ferrari in 2025, leaving Carlos Sainz without a seat - for now

Carlos Sainz has admitted Ferrari’s signing of Lewis Hamilton came as a surprise, revealing his target is to secure a “top seat” for the F1 2025 season amid interest from Red Bull and Mercedes.

Despite learning over the winter that he will be replaced by current Mercedes star Hamilton next year, Sainz has enjoyed his best-ever start to a season in F1 2024 and collected his third career victory at last month’s Australian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz targets ‘top F1 2025 seat’ after Lewis Hamilton’s shock Ferrari switch

Having been heavily linked with a switch to Sauber ahead of Audi’s highly anticipated F1 2026 entry, Sainz’s form has seen him emerge as a candidate for Red Bull and Mercedes.

Ahead of the recent Chinese Grand Prix, Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko confirmed the team are in negotiations with Sainz – but conceded the reigning World Champions are unable to match Audi’s “very lucrative offer.”

Meanwhile, multiple reports from Italy over recent weeks claimed Sainz is close to agreeing a deal to replace Hamilton at Mercedes in what would be a direct swap with the seven-time World Champion.

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Speaking to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, Sainz revealed that he was caught by surprise by the news of Hamilton joining Ferrari in February, having been confident of securing a contract extension with the Scuderia.

And he is hopeful that his current performances will see him rewarded with a competitive seat in F1 2025.

He said: “Hamilton to Ferrari was a blow, I didn’t expect it.

“I was quite sure that I would renew my contract, but it will be my last year with the team and I just want to think about doing my best for the Prancing Horse.

“In reality, I am already part of a top team like Ferrari and doing well here – as I am actually doing – leads others to keep an eye on you.

“In the end that’s what I’ve always wanted as a driver, which is to be considered a good name to fill the top seats in F1.

“And frankly I hope it will be like that for many more years.”

A report by German publication Auto Motor und Sport has claimed that Audi are no longer pushing for a quick decision from Sainz, following rumours that the Spaniard was facing a deadline of this month to accept the German manufacturer’s proposal.

Sainz has claimed his options remain open for F1 2025, insisting there have been no significant developments on his future over recent weeks.

He explained: “All options are open, but it takes time to come to such decisions.

“Little has happened in the last few weeks from this point of view, but it doesn’t affect the way I race, my work on the track. Choosing takes time for everyone.

“I am often asked whether it is better to think about next year or the long term when deciding. I guess it depends on what they offer you.

“As a driver you always look at the option that presents you with the fastest single-seater, because you think that way you can win podiums and victories like I am doing this year.

“But also interesting are the possibilities in the medium term, given the change of regulations in 2026.

“Each side of the coin has its pluses and minuses, but the best thing is that today all options remain open.

“I smile thinking about the future even though what will happen is not solely up to me. I just have to wait and do my job well.

“If it takes time, that’s fine.

“Also because, in light of the regulatory change in 2026, it’s almost impossible to know who will go the strongest. And so the decisions also depend on what teams ‘sell’ to you, but nobody has a real idea.

“For 2025, the way I’m going, I’d like a competitive single-seater.

“In any case, the situation doesn’t bother me: I know how to keep the track and the journalists’ and fans’ questions about the future separate.

“When you run, you run. I’ve been in F1 for 10 years, I know how to manage my weekends.”

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