Carlos Sainz has one ‘sensible’ option as ‘neither’ Mercedes nor Red Bull will sign him

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz with the Williams and Audi badges

Which team will sign Carlos Sainz for 2025?

Williams is being touted as the “best sensible choice” for Carlos Sainz with the Spaniard falling to second choice with Mercedes and Red Bull.

Sainz has spent the first eight races of this season auditioning for his F1 future after being dropped by Ferrari in favour of signing Lewis Hamilton for the F1 2025 championship.

‘Neither Mercedes nor Red Bull is going to sign Carlos Sainz’

A run of three podiums in his opening three races, which included winning on the Australian Grand Prix just 16 days after an appendectomy, saw Sainz’s performances being publicly noted by Toto Wolff and Helmut Marko.

However, of late the compliments have gone quiet.

That’s because Mercedes reportedly are considering a promotion for junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli while Red Bull feel Sergio Perez is doing enough, and doing it without rocking the boat.

“The driver market was much discussed in the Monaco paddock as it becomes clear that neither Mercedes nor Red Bull is going to sign Carlos Sainz,” respected F1 journalist Joe Saward wrote in his post-Monaco block.

“Mercedes has its focus on Kimi Antonelli and Red Bull will keep Sergio Perez because he does the job without disrupting Max Verstappen.

“Ironically if he crashes and Sainz helps Ferrari gets closer in the Constructors’ Championship, it might help Carlos get a seat at Red Bull, but that is pretty unlikely.”

Key information as F1’s 2025 line up takes shape

👉The 10 drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2024 season

👉F1 2025 driver line-up: Who is already confirmed for the 2025 grid?

Which teams remain options for Carlos Sainz?

Despite it initially looking as if Audi was back to being the frontrunner to sign the 29-year-old, more recently he’s been linked to Williams.

Although the Grove team are yet again struggling to score points in a tightly-packed field, Saward reckons Williams’ Mercedes engine has to put them ahead of Audi on the Spaniard’s list.

“There is Audi,” he continued, “but most folks in F1 see this programme being unlikely to be competitive for years because of the state of the Sauber team and the fact that corporate politics is lurking not far beneath the surface at Audi – and that is never good for a manufacturer in F1.

“This means that Sainz’s best sensible choice would have to be Williams because the team will pay him the same as Audi and is on the way up, albeit not as rapidly as they would like.

“Williams will have a Mercedes engine in 2026 and that is likely to be in the hunt and so the Williams package looks like a lot better short-term deal than Audi would be.

“The team can offer Carlos a two-year deal, until the end of 2026, when everyone will see how good the next generation engines are, and perhaps an option of more years if Carlos wants to go on once he knows. It is hard to see the logic of not accepting such an offer.

“If this is the conclusion that the Sainz camp reaches, it could be agreed and announced as soon as the Spanish Grand Prix next month, which would be perfect timing.”

Read next: Fred Vasseur quizzed on Adrian Newey amidst 2025 Hamilton v Leclerc title fight expectations