Carlos Sainz’s ‘great objective’ revealed with F1 2025 decision ‘close’ – report

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of Carlos Sainz with prominent Red Bull and Williams logos alongside him

Could Carlos Sainz treat Williams as a springboard to a Red Bull seat?

Carlos Sainz could use a Williams seat as a springboard to his “great objective” of a Red Bull return for the F1 2026 season, it has been claimed, with the outgoing Ferrari star “close” to making a decision on his future.

Sainz remains without a seat for the F1 2025 season, having learned over the winter that he will be replaced by seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.

Carlos Sainz to join Williams with one eye on Red Bull?

The Spaniard responded to the news by producing his best-ever start to a season in F1 2024, culminating in his victory in the Australian Grand Prix – which came just a fortnight after he was ruled out of the previous race in Saudi Arabia with appendicitis.

Sainz’s career-best form had seen him register on the radars of Red Bull and Mercedes, but events over recent weeks have seen his options shrink for F1 2025. revealed ahead of last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix that Mercedes are not currently considering Sainz as an option to replace Hamilton, with the team happy to work to a larger timeframe to identify their new recruit.

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The behind-the-scenes dramas at Red Bull have raised the slight possibility that Verstappen could leave the team despite holding a contract until the end of the F1 2028 season, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff making no secret of his desire to land the 26-year-old over recent months.

If Verstappen proves unattainable for F1 2025, it is thought that Mercedes are highly likely to promote Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the team’s 17-year-old junior sensation currently competing in F2, as George Russell’s team-mate. revealed during last month’s Miami Grand Prix that the FIA received a special dispensation request to allow Antonelli to race in F1 before his 18th birthday – the minimum age drivers are eligible to qualify for a superlicence – amid rumours that he could yet race for Mercedes customers Williams before the season is out.

With Sergio Perez increasingly likely to receive a new Red Bull contract, Sainz’s options are said to be between Audi – who will take over the existing Sauber team in F1 2026 and are widely reported to have offered the 29-year-old a lucrative long-term deal – and Williams.

Despite the team’s lowly position in the Constructors’ standings (eighth place with two points from the first eight races of F1 2024), Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport has claimed a move to Williams could afford Sainz the crucial flexibility to keep his options open for F1 2026.

It is said that Sainz could sign a one-year deal with an option on his side for a further year, allowing him to explore the market and pursue his ultimate target of a Red Bull seat.

With new engine and chassis regulations coming into effect from F1 2026, Verstappen could potentially decide that the end of next season is a more appropriate time to leave Red Bull for Mercedes, whose preparations for the new rules are widely thought to be well advanced.

With Perez’s future likely to be under scrutiny once again 12 months from now, Red Bull may need to find two new drivers ahead of F1’s new era.

If Sainz is unable to secure a Red Bull seat, a long-term stay with Williams could emerge as a serious possibility with their relationship with Mercedes potentially set to result in an upturn in the team’s fortunes from F1 2026.

A Williams revival would be reminiscent of the great leap forward the team experienced when F1’s V6 hybrid engines were first introduced in 2014.

Having finished ninth in the Constructors’ standings with just five points in the final season of the V8 era in 2013, a move to Mercedes engines for F1 2014 propelled the team to third with nine podium finishes across the campaign.

A move to Red Bull would see Sainz return to the company that handed him his F1 debut in 2015 with the Toro Rosso B team, where he was partnered with a 17-year-old Verstappen.

Despite measuring up well against Verstappen across 2015/16, the Dutchman was promoted to a seat with Red Bull’s senior team after four races of the F1 2016 season. He has since established himself as one of the greatest drivers in history by winning three consecutive World Championships.

Sainz spent a further 18 months with Toro Rosso before spells at Renault and McLaren led to him being signed as Sebastian Vettel’s successor at Ferrari ahead of the F1 2021 season.

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