Red Bull urged to sign F1 star who would make Max Verstappen ‘sleep worse’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

Could Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz be reunited as F1 team-mates next year?

The only driver to beat Red Bull since 2022, the reigning World Champions have been urged to sign Carlos Sainz if they want genuine competition for Max Verstappen.

Sainz’s fairytale 2024, a tale of heartbreak, adversity, and triumph, had its latest chapter written in Australia where the Spaniard rebounded from an appendectomy 16 days prior to winning the Grand Prix.

‘No one better’ than Carlos Sainz to partner Max Verstappen

It was the latest installment in his story after the Spaniard was informed by Ferrari even before the first race of the season that his contract would not be renewed for 2025.

He stuck his SF-24 on the podium at race one in Bahrain Bahrain where he beat his team-mate, and 2025 Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc by 14 seconds.

Sainz, it’s fair to say, could not have asked for a better start to his season, which is effectively an audition for a 2025 drive.

Not only has the 29-year-old been linked to Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes race seat in what would be a straight swap, but he’s also said to be on Red Bull’s shortlist should they decide to drop Sergio Perez.

Former F1 Hans-Joachim Stuck believes that’s an easy decision.

“If I were the boss of Red Bull,” he told Eurosport, “I would use all means possible to find a fair solution to terminate the contract with Sergio Pérez. There are certainly clauses in the contract.

“And then I would offer Sainz the cockpit. At the moment there is no one better.”

So much better he believes the Spaniard could take the fight to triple World Champion Verstappen.

“Firstly, I would like it because competition stimulates business,” he said of a potential Verstappen-Sainz intra-team tussle. “Then Max would have to accelerate even more, which he can certainly do.

“Secondly, I’m sure Max would sleep worse if he knew that Sainz would be his new team-mate.

“In addition, there comes a day in every career when you lose your status. Verstappen is number one at Red Bull – but at some point that too will be over. Either he is getting too old or a new team-mate is suddenly putting pressure on him.

“Such a situation can result in two things: Verstappen becomes even faster or he falls apart.”

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He, though, isn’t so sure Verstappen would be happy partnering with Sainz, who whom he made his F1 debut in 2015 at Red Bull’s junior team.

“However, it could also be that Verstappen has a say in who is hired as his team-mate due to his role within the team. Then I could imagine that he is happy with Pérez because he doesn’t have to worry about that.”

As for Ferrari’s decision to drop Sainz in favour of Hamilton, the German said: “I always wondered why Ferrari would dismiss a driver like Carlos Sainz.

“After the race you could see that he was still very badly affected by his appendectomy. So you have to rate his win even higher because he did a great job.
And that was once again confirmation of the doubts about his dismissal.

“Frederic Vasseur will be angry that he made the decision. I never understood the switch from Sainz to Hamilton.”

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