Williams or Audi? ‘More competitive’ option for Carlos Sainz highlighted for next F1 move

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz has been linked with Williams.

Williams are one of the teams linked with Carlos Sainz for the F1 2025 season.

Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok believes Carlos Sainz would have a “more competitive” seat at Williams, if the Grove-based team and Audi are the main choices facing him for the F1 2025 season.

PlanetF1.com understands Sainz has been ruled out of contention for the vacant Mercedes seat for next year, at least for the time being, while Williams team principal James Vowles was recently open in admitting he is the team’s “number one target” to partner Alex Albon next season.

Williams ‘more competitive’ than Audi for Carlos Sainz – Karun Chandhok

While Sainz himself assured in Canada that no decision had yet been taken over his next move, with the 29-year-old keeping his options open as he assesses what is available, he remains a sought-after option by Audi, who will be taking over the Sauber team in 2026.

The German brand will be joining the sport as a power unit manufacturer as well as a constructor, with former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl working behind the scenes on preparing the team for its arrival on the grid.

Sainz has said on multiple occasions that he hopes to be in the best seat possible next season, having been fighting for wins with Ferrari, and former Hispania and Lotus driver Chandhok believes Williams may be the better option of the two seemingly most likely available to him at this moment.

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“I can see it happening,” Chandhok told Sky F1 when asked about the potential for Sainz going to Williams.

“Carlos’ choices seem to be between going to Sauber-Audi or going to Williams. In the short term, you’d have to say the Williams project is probably going to be a more competitive option.

“There are lots of unknowns with the Audi power unit coming for ’26. It’s their first go at Formula 1, so I think the trouble is, these are two sort of long-term projects where you feel like Williams are maybe three, four years ahead of Audi on the curve, but they’re not yet ready to win.

“They’re not yet ready to be challenging podiums, that is still three, four years away, but for the next two years, you’d have to bet on Williams being a better option than Sauber.”

Fellow Sky F1 pundit, former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick believes Sainz heading to Williams would be a sign that team principal Vowles is putting the team on the right path.

With a partnership of Sainz and Alex Albon, too, there would be reasons for optimism throughout the team, should such a move occur.

“I think that Alex is a great driver, I feel like everybody can agree that he has a good talent,” she said.

“And I think that if Carlos comes into this team, and he consistently beats him, that also leaves them open to find a new seat somewhere else at some point in time and move back into a different position with a different team because it’s going to look really good on him.

“But then there’s also that upside potential of James coming in and being able to really revamp this team and really bring it back to glory again, there’s always that possibility – as he’s spoken about having 30-something new personnel coming into the team.

“So with Alex there, new personnel, him in charge, you know, there’s a possibility that it could just turn the right direction.”

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