Ford announcement sends fan speculation wild over Carlos Sainz’s next move

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz with a Red Bull logo alongside him

Could Carlos Sainz join Red Bull in 2025 to either partner or replace Max Verstappen?

Is Carlos Sainz heading to Red Bull for 2025? Formula 1 fans believe so after his father confirmed his reunion with Ford.

Despite being one of only two drivers to defeat three-time World Champion Max Verstappen so far in F1 2024, Sainz finds himself without a home on the grid for next season, with Lewis Hamilton set to replace him at Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz Snr reunites with Red Bull engine partner Ford

And with Sainz having impressed so far this campaign, it has seen his name linked with various teams for 2025, the most consistent speculation steering him towards either Red Bull or Sauber, which will become the Audi works team in 2026.

His father is very familiar with the Audi brand, having claimed victory in their final Dakar Rally appearance in 2023, but now, Sainz Snr has signed with Ford for their 2025 programme, the US automotive giant which has partnered with Red Bull for the new era of Formula 1 power units coming in 2026.

And fans have jumped on that announcement as a sign that Sainz Jnr will be returning to Red Bull next year, having started his F1 career as a member of the Red Bull driver programme.

In a reply to the news on social media, a fan posted: “Sainz Jr to Red Bull confirmed.”

“Then we know Sainz signed with Red Bull,” came a further reply, another fan echoing that though with: “Yet another link between Red Bull and the Sainz’s. Ford + Carlos Sr. in Dakar. Ford + Carlos Jr. in F1.”

If Sainz were to sign with Red Bull from next season, it is not yet certain which driver he would replace, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff continuing to chase the signature of Verstappen, despite the Dutchman saying he currently sees no reason to leave.

Sergio Perez meanwhile is battling to secure a new Red Bull contract with his current deal up at the end of F1 2024, though one fan thinks it is more likely that Perez puts pen to paper on fresh Red Bull terms.

“This pretty much confirms Verstappen – Sainz 2025 hopefully, but probs will be Perez extension.”

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Sainz Snr – a four-time winner of the Dakar Rally – is no stranger to Ford having enjoyed three previous stints with the brand in the World Rally Championship, claiming a total of five victories.

This will though mark Sainz’s first Dakar Rally effort with Ford and reacting to the news, he said: “I’m very excited by this new Dakar Rally project, to go back to working with Ford for the fourth time, and to return to M-Sport, to return to Malcolm [Wilson, founder of M-Sport] who I know very well, it’s really great to be back.

“My history with Ford goes all the way back to ’87, and I think I was Malcolm’s first driver, his first ever factory driver, back in the day, and I’m very proud of that.

“I’m really excited to be driving the Raptor truck, and to approach this big challenge with a lot of goals. One is to help Ford win the Dakar Rally.”

For Sainz Jnr, he will soon return to action at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has teased a push for victory on home soil.

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