Williams confirm Carlos Sainz as ‘number one target’ in ‘keep eye out for us’ warning

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz has been linked with Williams.

Williams are one of the teams linked with Carlos Sainz for the F1 2025 season.

Williams team principal James Vowles openly confirmed that Carlos Sainz is their “number one target” in the Formula 1 driver market, with investment flowing and new signings teased.

The latest F1 ‘silly season’ continues to gather pace with Carlos Sainz serving as a key player, the three-time F1 race winner on the lookout for a new home on the grid with Lewis Hamilton set to take his Ferrari seat for 2025. Could said new home be Williams?

Williams confirm Carlos Sainz as ‘number one target’

The Grove outfit has made it clear that this is what they want to happen, team boss Vowles confirming to Sky F1 that Sainz is the driver that they desire to see alongside Alex Albon, who recently signed a new multi-year contract.

“Number one target is Carlos,” said Vowles, who went on to expand on his admiration for Sainz, picking out not only his 2023 Singapore victory as a standout performance, as he became the only non-Red Bull winner of the season, but also his response to a Q2 crash at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, which he rebounded from to almost match team-mate Charles Leclerc in Q3.

“He’s a race-winning driver that last year, against all odds, beat Max in Singapore with a brilliant drive and that’s not the first time,” Vowles continued.

“He’s intelligent in how he approaches things, logical, incredibly quick. What he did this year in Shanghai, it’s going to sound like a negative, it’s not, in qualifying he crashed and we’ve all been there to a certain extent, it’s an impressive athlete that can reset themselves, go back out and then beat your teammate [sic] in that condition.

“And I think that shows you just how strong he is as a driver. I think any team on the grid would be fortunate to have someone like Carlos alongside them.”

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With a total of 16 titles to their name, Williams are no strangers to success in Formula 1, though the most recent of those came in 1997 with Williams more commonly towards the back of the grid over the latest seasons, finishing P10 and last in four of the past six campaigns.

However, Vowles said times are changing at Williams and this is highlighted by their pursuit of Sainz, while he teased “a number of really great signings” to be announced in due course.

Asked what he is selling Sainz on when it comes to a potential Williams move, Vowles replied: “The main thing is this, there’s a reason why I left Mercedes to come here.

“This isn’t the Williams of old. And I think first and foremost, the fact that we are having Sainz on our list will certainly show you this isn’t how we performed of late. We are prepared to have a driver line-up that I think is going to be one of the best on the grid if it’s achieved.

“That’s a different era that we’re going into. We’re investing 10s, if not hundreds of millions to make this team back to where it was in terms of success.

“And this is just part of the reason why I’ve changed [teams from Mercedes]. There is in the background, a number of really great signings that will slowly start edging out into the world over the next few weeks.

“But this really is a good journey. We’re now starting to see the hard work that started 12 months ago come into play. And that gives me every reason to be confident that we’re moving forward.

“Williams also was a team that was 10th for many years. Yes, last year was seventh and we started this year poorly. Keep an eye out for us, we’re now starting to put performance on the car race by race. This is a different entity to what it was before.”

As for when he believes the F1 driver market puzzle pieces will all fall into place, Vowles said: “I think you’re going to see the remainder of the market really clear itself up in the next four weeks. That’s about the time period we’re looking at.”

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