Toto Wolff addresses Carlos Sainz to Mercedes rumours as ‘difficult choice’ looms

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz pulling on his fireproofs.

Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari garage.

Toto Wolff admits he has a “difficult choice” to make as he seeks to replace Lewis Hamilton, the team boss saying all Mercedes’ options have “arguments in favour of them”.

Following Hamilton’s shock decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari, Wolff has been inundated with CVs with George Russell saying it has been “quite interesting” seeing the names popping up on his team boss’ phone.

Toto Wolff: They all have arguments in favour of them

But while it’s fair to say every driver without a contract for next season is hopeful, it has been speculated that there is a shortlist comprising of double World Champion Fernando Alonso, Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli, and Sunday’s Australian GP winner Carlos Sainz.

Left without a race seat for 2025 after Ferrari’s decision to sign Hamilton, Sainz’s early-season auditions have seen the Spaniard score a podium in Bahrain, before bouncing back from an appendectomy that meant he missed the Saudi Arabian GP to win in Melbourne.

Taking the chequered flag ahead of Charles Leclerc, Sainz remains the only non-Red Bull driver to win a Grand Prix since Russell’s 2022 success in Brazil.

Wolff admits the Spaniard, now a three-time Grand Prix winner, is an option for 2025.

“The ones that are available or that could be interesting for us, they all have arguments in favour of them,” Wolff said in Australia.

“Be it the very young ones, be very mature ones in the best years. Or Carlos.

“It’s a difficult choice because there is no real… it’s not like there is a criteria for one and everything points to the other.

“I just want to do a step back and just monitor the situation because some of the guys mentioned may sign for other teams and so just looking at it.”

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Former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde believes Wolff will “call” Sainz about the 2025 seat, if, and it’s an if, he can’t persuade Max Verstappen to swap Red Bull for Mercedes.

Although Wolff has made it clear he would “love” to sign the triple World Champion amidst Red Bull’s off-track “wobbles”, he concedes Verstappen will want the fastest car on the grid and right now that’s the Red Bull.

As such Van der Garde reckons Sainz would be a good option for the Brackley squad.

“What a great weekend,” the former F1 driver said on the Viaplay review. “A very good race, no mistakes made.

“He should have had his appendix out sooner!” he joked.

“I also think he experiences much less pressure now. If he continues to perform like this, I think a lot of teams will really want him.

“I don’t think he will go to Red Bull. But Mercedes, if Wolff cannot bring in Max, I think he will call Sainz.”

Sainz’s father Carlos Sainz and his manager Carlos Onorio were spotted exiting the Mercedes hospitality at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with Corriere dello Sport claiming they’d been speaking “at length” with Wolff about the Spaniard’s future.

Read next: Australian Grand Prix conclusions: Lewis Hamilton sabbatical? Carlos Sainz’s next move