‘Sounds excellent!’ – James Vowles beams as Carlos Sainz’s ex-McLaren boss reveals key strength

Oliver Harden
James Vowles smiles in a press conference with an inset of Carlos Sainz looking concerned

James Vowles has made no secret of his desire to sign Carlos Sainz for F1 2025

Williams team principal James Vowles was left beaming in Canada after McLaren boss Andrea Stella detailed the qualities Carlos Sainz can bring to an F1 team.

Carlos Sainz still 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 at Ferrari at the end of this year.

James Vowles excited by ringing Carlos Sainz endorsement

The Spaniard responded by producing his best-ever start to a season in F1 2024, culminating in his victory at the Australian Grand Prix, but his hopes of landing a top seat for F1 2025 have faded over recent weeks.

PlanetF1.com revealed ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that Sainz was no longer under consideration by Mercedes, who are prepared to promote 17-year-old sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli as Hamilton’s successor if reigning three-time World Champion Max Verstappen is unattainable.

Sainz also appears to have missed out on a Red Bull seat, with the team confirming a new two-year contract for Sergio Perez before last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

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Sainz’s options are now thought to be between Williams and Audi, who will take over the existing Sauber team when the German manufacturer arrives on the grid in F1 2026.

Despite being heavily linked with Audi for some time, Sainz is widely believed to be leaning towards Mercedes customers Williams, with Vowles speaking openly about his desire to sign the outgoing Ferrari star.

It has been speculated that an announcement could be made ahead of Sainz’s home race in Barcelona next weekend.

Vowles continued his charm offensive in Montreal, describing Sainz as an “exceptional driver” whom “any team would be privileged to have” while appearing in the team principals’ press conference.

Stella worked with Sainz for two seasons over 2019/20, with the Spaniard registering two podium finishes with McLaren before being signed as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement at Ferrari for F1 2021.

And Stella gave a ringing endorsement when asked what Sainz brings to a team, drawing attention to the 29-year-old’s intelligence and communication.

Stella said: “Carlos is an interesting driver, I have to say, not only for the qualities that James reminded and that led him to be a race winner, but in particular I would highlight that he is very rational.

“He needs to create a plan in his head around what is the fastest way in a lap, what is the fastest way of racing.

“He adds a lot of rationality to his instinct. And the importance is that when you have this rational elaboration, it’s also easy to communicate.

“And then it becomes a big asset for the team because what he’s processing, what he’s seeing as an opportunity or what he’s seeing as a problem, it becomes very clear for the team.

“It’s very well communicated and we can do something about it, so I think for us it has been definitely one of the leading variables in the development of the team because of these characteristics.”

Vowles was then asked if he liked the sound of what Stella had to say, responding: “Sounds excellent, doesn’t it? Yes.”

Vowles’ latest comments come after he claimed joining Williams should be an “easy decision” for Sainz, outlining the team’s renewed ambition following his appointment as team principal in early 2023.

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.”

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