Red Bull warned against signing ‘too much fuss’ driver despite ‘great fight’ potential

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen, Red Bull

Could Carlos Sainz take the fight to Max Verstappen at Red Bull?

Said to be considering Carlos Sainz for the second Red Bull seat, Giedo van der Garde has warned the reigning champions to only sign the Spaniard if Max Verstappen leaves for Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton’s decision back in February to leave Mercedes at the end of this year kicked Formula 1’s silly season into high gear, and the rumours that go hand-in-hand.

‘As long as Verstappen is there, Carlos Sainz will not be there’

Hamilton’s move has left Sainz without a 2025 race seat but as the star of the F1 2024 show behind Verstappen, the Spaniard is in talks with “pretty much” every team on the grid.

That list reportedly includes Red Bull and Mercedes.

But while signing the only non-Red Bull driver to win a Grand Prix since 2022 would seem a no-brainer, Van der Garde believes Red Bull should only do so if the rumours they’re losing Verstappen to Mercedes are true.

“Red Bull will soon have the choice to sign Carlos Sainz or go for Perez, who is simply a good second driver,” the former driver told the DRS: The Race Show podcast.

“Or both, but that depends on what Max is going to do.

“If he has an option to go somewhere else, like Mercedes, then you have to get Sainz, being Red Bull.”

Sainz recently issued a hurry-up to his prospective teams with the Spaniard saying he wants a decision “sooner rather than later”.

But with the Verstappen situation not yet resolved, Van der Garde has urged him to wait as he could yet replace Verstappen at Red Bull.

Replace being the only option as he doesn’t feel Sainz and Verstappen would work as a line-up and that Red Bull should instead stick with Sergio Perez as the triple World Champion’s team-mate.

“Sainz will of course talk to everyone. If I were him, I’d wait,” he added. “If there is an option to get into the best car, the Red Bull…

“As long as Verstappen is there, Sainz will not be there, I don’t believe that. That’s too much fuss.

“But if something happens to Max and he chooses another team, as Red Bull I would get Sainz.

“As long as Perez continues to drive next to Max as he is doing now, he can stay for another two years.”

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‘Great fight’ if Red Bull gamble a Verstappen/Sainz pairing

However, if Red Bull do opt to put Sainz in the RB21 alongside Verstappen, Van der Garde reckons there would be a “great fight” between the team-mates.

For now, though, it’s speculation.

“Sainz is good,” he said. “You saw how they did in 2015. They would be very close together.

“I think Sainz is better than Perez. It would be very close and make for great fights, but it’s all speculation. We still have 2025 first.

“Let’s finish this season first and see what happens with the driver market. It would be nice next season if the teams get closer together, and 2026 will be very different with the new rules.”

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