Carlos Sainz to Williams? James Vowles drops huge F1 2025 hint with ‘easy decision’ claim

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of Carlos Sainz with a prominent Williams logo alongside him

Is Carlos Sainz edging closer to a 2025 Williams drive?

James Vowles has claimed it should be an “easy decision” for Carlos Sainz to join Williams for the F1 2025 season, with the team’s interest in the outgoing Ferrari driver a sign of the team’s ambition.

Sainz remains without a seat for next season after Ferrari announced the signing of seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton on a multi-year deal for F1 2025.

James Vowles: Carlos Sainz to Williams ‘an easy decision’

The Spaniard’s best-ever start to a season, peaking with his victory at the Australian Grand Prix, had raised speculation that he could attract interest from the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull, but Sainz has seen those opportunities close over recent weeks.

PlanetF1.com reported ahead of last month’s Monaco Grand Prix that Sainz was no longer under consideration to replace Hamilton at Mercedes, with the team instead opting to keep tabs on Max Verstappen’s situation at Red Bull.

If Verstappen is unattainable for F1 2025, it is thought that the team will sign Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the 17-year-old Italian sensation, as Hamilton’s successor.

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In the build-up to this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, meanwhile, Red Bull confirmed that Sergio Perez had signed a new two-year contract with the reigning Constructors’ Champions, ending speculation over the Mexican driver’s future.

It is widely believed that Sainz’s options are now between Williams and the existing Sauber team, who will become Audi when the German manufacturer arrives on the grid in F1 2026.

At last month’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Vowles – who has been open about his pursuit of Sainz’s signature – revealed he was aiming to finalise Williams’ F1 2025 driver line-up within weeks, teasing a potential statement signing to reflect where the team now stand 18 months since his appointment as team principal.

Providing an update in Montreal, Vowles confirmed that the team are looking for two “world-class drivers” having already tied Alex Albon to a new contract.

And he believes Williams’ technical partnership with Mercedes, whose preparations for the F1 2026 rule changes are widely believed to be well advanced, makes the Grove-based outfit an attractive option for a driver of Sainz’s calibre.

He told Sky F1: “Why Williams? Let’s answer that question.

“There’s a reason why I’m here. Williams isn’t the same Williams it was three years ago.

“And by definition, the fact that we’ve been talking to Carlos shows you that we’ve changed our approach.

“We want two world-class drivers to be a part of our stable going forward. We want the world to realise that we’re here and we’re serious, we’re investing what it takes to be back at the front.

“In 2026, we have one of the best power units – if not the best power unit – coming to our car.

“We’ll announce shortly, I hope, but there’s around about 30 incredible people from other teams joining our organisation that we’ve been gathering across the last 12 months.

“The world is changing and someone like Carlos would feature very highly in that regard in terms of the grand picture of where we are.

“Of course the difference is he has the choice of whether he wants to come here or not and that’s his to make.”

Asked if he feels that Sainz is convinced by Williams’ proposal, Vowles replied: “It’s hard to tell. I think he can see all the strengths.

“I think it’s easy for me to say, because I’m Williams and I wear the shirt, but I think it’s an easy decision to come here.

“But it has to be his to make.”

A report from Spain on Thursday claimed Sainz has already signed a contract for the F1 2025 season, with the document verified by a law firm in the 29-year-old’s home city of Madrid.

Sainz responded angrily to the claims that a deal to join Williams is done – and stressed the importance of finding the right long-term project, with opportunity knocking when the F1 2026 rules are introduced.

He told reporters in Montreal: “The only thing I can tell you is there is nothing locked in.

“I’ve seen reports in the media, people saying I’ve signed. You look at those things, it makes me laugh, because I remember seeing reports three months ago that I had signed for Mercedes, reports that I had signed for Red Bull.

“Now obviously those places are not going to happen.

“So it’s just funny now people saying I’ve signed for Williams. It makes me laugh knowing that sometimes this goes a bit unpunished in a way for some media reports. I can just tell you that obviously concerns me that people can get away with that kind of stuff without being backed or anything like that.

“Apart from that, whenever I have something to say or something to announce, you guys will be the first ones to know and I’ll be here openly talking about it.

“And about my future, I’ll put everything into perspective, I will seriously consider everything inside that contract that I sign.

“I’m still a firm believer that in Formula 1 to be successful, you need a medium to long-term project. I don’t think you’re ever going to be successful in Formula 1 to go one year somewhere to win, and then leave. I think you need a proper project for those things to happen.

“And I think ’25, ’26, ’27, ’28, offers me a good opportunity to find that. I think ’26 is going to be a lottery. I think you guys have seen the regs today. When I had a look, it looks impossible for me to predict who’s going to be competitive.

“I know right now you guys see it maybe with a bit of a dramatic perspective, not being in a competitive car for ’25 or ’26, but I think ’26 is going to be such a turnaround that maybe the future holds something really positive out there for me.”

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