Questions remain over Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari future after Leclerc re-signs

Michelle Foster
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season.

Charles Leclerc’s new Ferrari contract is signed and sealed but Carlos Sainz faces an uncertain future with the duration of his next deal said to be the “sticking point” in his negotiations.

Ferrari announced on Thursday that Leclerc has signed a new extension, one that will reportedly keep him with the Maranello team for a further five years beyond 2024, although Ferrari only spoke of “several more seasons to come” in the press release.

There was no mention of his team-mate Sainz.

Carlos Sainz wants more than a one-year Ferrari extension

As with Leclerc, at least before Thursday’s announcement, his Ferrari contract expires at the end of this season but so far there’s been no word on Sainz’s future.

Gazzetta dello Sport reports “there is no shortage of questions regarding that [the future] of the Spaniard” that is “still pending”.

The Italian publication points out that while “it’s not that the extensions necessarily have to be communicated simultaneously… the fact remains that something is still missing.”

That something, it is being claimed, is the duration of the contract.

Sainz, despite being heavily linked to Audi, favours a multi-year Ferrari deal that will keep him with the team beyond Audi’s F1 arrival in 2026 perhaps giving them time to iron out any issues before he makes the swap.

“Obviously I want to renew and I’d like to renew for more than one year, not just two,” the 29-year-old Spaniard has said.

“I feel perfectly valued by Fred [Vasseur] and by the whole Ferrari family in general, I feel loved.

“Therefore, I will renew if I feel that way and I feel that I am valued. I am convinced that if we both want to, we will reach an agreement on a duration that I am happy with.”

Ferrari, though, are only thought to be offering him one year – 2025 – as they want to keep their options open. recommends

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Come 2025 Lando Norris and potentially Alex Albon will be available with both drivers reportedly on Ferrari’s radar. McLaren, though, are determined to hold onto 13-time podium finisher Norris while Williams are said to have an option on Albon for 2025.

But while it has been suggested Ferrari risk alienating Sainz on the gamble they could persuade Norris or Albon away from the likes of Red Bull or even Mercedes, a one-year extension not only allows him to show Ferrari what they’d be missing out on, but it also gives him options for 2026.

The most notable of those being Audi.

His father and 2023 Dakar champion Carlos Sainz Snr admits the German manufacturer, who will take over Sauber in 2026, could be option for his son.

Speaking to Spanish publication after his Dakar win with Audi, he said: “As you would expect at Carlos’ place, with me being part of the Audi family, it’s logical that we talk and exchange views on what the Audi team can be in the future.”

He went on to talk about Audi’s F1 project, saying: “Audi, I think, is a guarantee. I know very well how seriously they take every project and I know very well what the German mentality in the world of motoring entails, with its advantages and certain disadvantages.

“For [a] Volkswagen Group [brand] like Audi, you have to respect them. We all know that F1 is a bit of a special world, but I have a lot of respect for Audi.

“I think it will only be a matter of time [before they succeed in F1]. I don’t have a crystal ball, but if Audi has all my respect and I think they are also putting all the ingredients in place for it to be a good project.”

And with Leclerc often said to be Ferrari’s favoured driver, a move to Audi would give Sainz the chance to finally be the number one pick within his team.

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