Mario Andretti reveals which team Carlos Sainz should sign with for F1 2025

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz, Mercedes, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Mario Andretti believes Carlos Sainz should commit his future to Mercedes, if possible.

1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti has picked out which team Carlos Sainz should choose, if he can, for the 2025 F1 season.

Carlos Sainz is the hottest prospect on the driver market at the moment, with the Spaniard the winner of the recent Australian Grand Prix to add to his Singapore GP win last season – the only non-Red Bull driver to win during 2023.

Mario Andretti: Carlos Sainz deserves a competitive drive

With Ferrari opting to bring in Lewis Hamilton for 2025, it’s left Sainz out in the cold despite his strong performances. With no confirmed seat for next year, Sainz has to weigh up his options – of which there appear to be plenty.

With Red Bull and Mercedes both having unconfirmed cockpits for 2025, Sainz is a possibility for both teams, while the leading midfield possibility appears to be Sauber ahead of Audi’s takeover of the Hinwil-based squad for 2026.

While Red Bull and Mercedes might offer short-term success, Sainz would likely fit into the team leadership role at Audi during their formative years – offering him the chance to make his mark with the German manufacturer further down the line.

But while his prospects of landing a seat are good for next season, there is the slight possibility of finding himself left out in the cold if he delays too long – Red Bull could re-sign Sergio Perez, and Mercedes could opt to promote from within with Kimi Antonelli.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com, 1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti picked out which team he’d sign for if he was in Sainz’s position.

“I would go to Mercedes,” he smiled, speaking from his offices in New York.

While Mercedes might not offer race wins immediately, the 2026 regulations could be a springboard to success for Brackley again, due to the extensive chassis and power unit changes on the way for that season – Mercedes having nailed the previous power unit regulations change in 2014.

So why does Andretti believe Mercedes is the right option for Sainz?

“They’re due to be at the top again, they’re nibbling right there,” he said.

“That’s one team that you know well it will always be there, as long as they’re around.

“It’s something that’s sustainable if you will, so that’s the way I’m looking at it from here.”

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Signing for Mercedes for 2025 would pit Sainz against the highly-rated George Russell, who stays on at Mercedes after Hamilton’s departure – ostensibly in a team leadership role.

How does Andretti reckon Sainz would fare against the British driver, would he hold his own against him?

“You have to hold your own against anybody, you know, let’s face it. That’s the job,” he said.

“But no matter where you go, like if you go to Red Bull, you’d be against Max.

“No matter what, that’s who you have to beat. When I drove, in my days, I looked up… there’s always someone that’s better than you.

“But if you are to be able to bring a championship or win, that’s who you have to beat – you have to beat whoever is the best, and don’t be afraid if you think you have a teammate that’s better than you.

“If that teammate was with another team, you still have to beat that individual. You cannot be afraid to measure up against anyone. You just go ‘I have to be the best’, you have to keep telling yourself that – that’s what makes you better because you’re going to work harder, and you’re going to pay a lot of attention to everything else is going on, you can learn a lot from a teammate that’s better than you.”

With Sainz left in the unenviable position of struggling to find a seat at a time when he’s in the form of his life, proving a close match and even beating his highly-rated teammate Charles Leclerc, Andretti said he feels a bit sorry for the Spaniard.

“Personally, I do,” he said.

“He deserves a competitive drive, for sure. Because he’s shown that he can win pole and races, he has shown the pace, no question.

“You can always measure yourself vis a vis your partner, your teammate. I think he has shown enough there that he deserves, there ARE some good seats open as we know, and I just hope that he lands in something

“He’s one of those who create a lot of interest, and his fan base is hoping the same, I certainly am, I’m watching it closely on this side, 100 percent.

“He definitely deserves something that’s capable of winning, and he can take it there.”

Mario Andretti opens up on Andretti F1 team entry

Andretti also shed light on the state of play regarding the Andretti F1 entry, as the American squad continues to attempt to win over Liberty Media and be permitted entry to the championship.

“I want to make it clear the objective is 2026, to be realistic, that’s the plan,” he said.

“To make everything work properly, with the complexity of a team and then looking forward to GM’s participation fully, 2026 is a solid date for us.”

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