Carlos Sainz Williams contract length revealed with key break clause – report

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of Carlos Sainz glancing to the right where a prominent Williams logo sits alongside him

Is Carlos Sainz poised to swap Ferrari for Williams?

Williams have offered Carlos Sainz a four-year contract from the F1 2025 season, with an option to leave after two seasons if the team do not progress as hoped.

That is the claim of highly respected F1 reporter Michael Schmidt, who believes outgoing Ferrari driver Sainz is currently “more likely” to join Williams than Sauber for next season.

Rumoured details of Williams’ offer to Carlos Sainz emerge

Sainz remains without a seat for F1 2025 after being informed over the winter that he will be replaced by seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari at the end of the season.

The Spaniard responded by producing his best-ever start to a season in F1 2024, peaking with his victory at the Australian Grand Prix, but Sainz has seen opportunities at Mercedes and Red Bull fade over recent weeks.

PlanetF1.com revealed ahead of last month’s Monaco Grand Prix that Sainz is no longer under consideration by Mercedes – at least for the foreseeable future – with the team prepared to promote 17-year-old sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli as Hamilton’s successor for F1 2025 if they are unable to lure reigning three-time World Champion Max Verstappen from Red Bull.

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Red Bull, meanwhile, announced ahead of last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix that Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez has signed a new two-year contract, tying him to the reigning Constructors’ Champions until the end of F1 2026.

Sainz’s options are now believed to be between Audi – who will take over the existing Sauber team in F1 2026 and have courted the 29-year-old for some time – and Williams.

Appearing on Auto Motor und Sport’s Formula Schmidt show, Schmidt has lifted the lid on the details behind Williams’ proposal to Sainz.

It is said that the team have presented a four-year contract to Sainz, including an option to walk away “without ifs and buts” after two if Williams do not make enough progress under team principal James Vowles.

The rumoured break clause would theoretically allow Sainz to make an informed decision for his future during the first year of F1’s next rules cycle in 2026, which is expected to shuffle F1’s competitive order significantly.

Schmidt said: “There are only two options: Williams and Sauber.

“Sauber, it has to be said, is actually Audi. It sounds much, much better on the paper. Audi are a works contract and Williams is just a private customer team.

“At the moment Williams is in a better position, but you have to say very clearly and that shows also an upward trend, while there is only stagnation at Sauber.

“Williams have proposed an interesting contract of four years.

“However, he can change [teams] after two if this plan by James Vowles and the investors – as they imagine it and have presented it – doesn’t come true.

“He can go away, no matter where and without ifs and buts, and I think that’s the offer.

“At the moment, I have a feeling that he is more likely to go to Williams than to Audi.

“Maybe he could then still go to Audi in two years.”

Speaking to Sky F1 in Canada last weekend, Vowles appeared confident of signing Sainz for F1 2025, claiming it should be an “easy decision” for the three-time race winner to join Williams.

He said: “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.”

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