Huge Carlos Sainz ‘development’ with ‘exchange looming’ for F1 2025 move – reports

Oliver Harden
Carlos Sainz and prominent logos of Mercedes and Audi

Is Carlos Sainz closer to resolving his F1 future?

Carlos Sainz is close to agreeing a deal to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the F1 2025 season, according to multiple reports in Italy.

Hamilton rocked the F1 world in February by announcing that he will end his long and successful association with Mercedes at the end of 2024, having agreed a multi-year contract with Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz to swap seats with Lewis Hamilton for F1 2025?

The signing of seven-time World Champion Hamilton as Charles Leclerc’s team-mate has left Sainz without a seat for 2025, having replaced Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari at the start of the 2021 season.

Sainz has been heavily linked with a move to Sauber ahead of Audi’s highly anticipated entry with the Swiss-based team, but a strong start to the 2024 season has seen the 29-year-old emerge as F1’s hottest property.

Despite missing the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with appendicitis, Sainz sits just four points behind Leclerc in the Drivers’ standings having stood on the podium at every race he has contested so far this season. recommends

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Sainz claimed his third career victory at last month’s Australian Grand Prix, ensuring he remains the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race since the start of the 2023 campaign.

His form has seen Sainz emerge as a potential option for both Mercedes and Red Bull in recent weeks, but Sainz saw another route closed off on Thursday when fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso agreed a new long-term extension with Aston Martin.

Despite suggestions of a move for Max Verstappen amid the current uncertainty engulfing Red Bull, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the 17-year-old Italian sensation, had long been regarded as Mercedes’ preferred option to replace Hamilton in 2025.

But a report by La Gazzetta dello Sport has claimed that Sainz is now closing in a Mercedes drive, with ‘qualified sources’ indicating an ‘exchange’ with Lewis Hamilton is now ‘looming’.

Sainz’s competitive performances alongside a driver of Leclerc’s calibre over the last four seasons, as well as his team ethic and his ability to help develop a car, has been cited as the reasons behind Mercedes’ willingness to pair the Spaniard with George Russell’s ahead of F1’s next major regulation changes in 2026.

The claims have been echoed by Corriere della Sera, with an official announcement set to come within weeks if an agreement is reached.

Meanwhile, the Formula Uno website claims Mercedes have proposed a one-plus-one year deal to Sainz – theoretically giving the team the freedom to promote Antonelli (or try again for Verstappen) in 2026 – with Sainz pushing for a two-year contract with the option for a third season.

The signing of Sainz would allow Mercedes to take a more cautious approach with Antonelli, currently competing in his first season in the F2 feeder series.

Antonelli could mirror the career path of Russell, who spent three years with Williams from 2019 before succeeding Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s team-mate in 2022.

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