Heading into the final season of his contract after Ferrari opted to replace him with Lewis Hamilton in one of the biggest transfer moves ever in F1, it has been suggested Williams could be a “potential destination” for Carlos Sainz if they continue their rise.
Following Ferrari’s announcement that Charles Leclerc has re-signed with the Scuderia “beyond 2024”, a deal that’s said to run through to end of 2029, the big question is what’s next for his team-mate Sainz?
The Spaniard didn’t get a mention in the Ferrari press release when Leclerc’s new deal was announced, nor was he mentioned when Ferrari sensationally confirmed Lewis Hamilton’s arrival in 2025.
Williams named as ‘potential’ option for Carlos Sainz
The new rumour that emerged prior to the announcement was the hold-up in Sainz’s negotiations is because Ferrari were trying to persuade seven-time World Champion Hamilton to leave Mercedes at the end of this season and head to Maranello.
The good news for Sainz, even if it won’t feel like it at the moment, is he’s not short of options whether that be next season or ’26.
One of those could even be Williams.
Although the Grove team has more often than not finished bottom of the log over the course of the past five seasons, 2023 yielded genuine gains.
Alex Albon scored 27 points in the FW45, a car that was a significant evolution on its predecessor with new team principal James Vowles adamant Williams’ F1 car was no longer a “one-trick pony” that could only do well at high downforce circuits.
The team beat Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and Haas to finish seventh in the Drivers’ Championship with pundits believing there’s more to come at Williams under Vowles’ leadership.
So much so that F1.com’s Lawrence Barretto believes the Grove team could be a possible destination for Sainz now Ferrari have looked elsewhere.
“As Williams’ star continues to rise, the British team could be a potential destination for him too,” he insisted.
Sainz to Sauber in 2025? It’s not a total impossibility
However, Audi are still leading the running to sign the 29-year-old after his father Carlos Sainz Snr won the 2023 Dakar Rally with the German manufacturer.
Audi will take over the Sauber F1 team in 2026 but even in 2025 their stake, and voice, in the F1 team will grow.
“His former McLaren boss Andreas Seidl remains an admirer and would love to have Sainz onboard at Hinwil, where the Sauber-run team will become Audi in 2026,” said Barretto. “However, this would be a much bigger risk for Sainz, at a time of his career where he is heading nicely towards his peak.”
The Audi link has been reiterated by Sky Sports F1, who suggest Sainz could even head to Hinwil next season as neither Valtteri Bottas nor Zhou Guanyu have contracts for the 2025 campaign.
“The 29-year-old has been linked with a move to new 2026 F1 entrant Audi, which will remain as Sauber for this season and next,” claims Sky.
“It was always thought that such a move for Sainz wouldn’t happen until then, but with the team’s current duo Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu out of contract at the end of 2024, it’s not a total impossibility.”