Apr.11 - Carlos Sainz could be closing in on a deal to race for Mercedes in 2025.

Just as Fernando Alonso called a move from Aston Martin to Mercedes "not attractive", rumours have ramped up linking Sainz with the seat that will be vacated by his own replacement at Ferrari next year - Lewis Hamilton.

"Although speculation is the order of the day," Diario Sport journalist Laura Lopez Albiac reports, "the latest leaks from the paddock indicate that Carlos could be close to signing for Mercedes.

"In recent hours, information has emerged pointing to a fairly imminent announcement - in the coming weeks - of the agreement with the Spaniard."

Audi-owned Sauber appears to be the 29-year-old's only real other option, despite Red Bull figures insisting Sainz will be considered as a potential replacement for Sergio Perez.

But it is believed only Christian Horner is advocating for Sainz, with Dr Helmut Marko - on the opposing side of Red Bull's ongoing power struggle - preferring a new one-year deal for Perez.

"It's difficult for Sergio to fight with Max," former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov said, "but that one-two at Suzuka speaks volumes. I think they are happy with everything as it is.

"They do not need a second Max Verstappen," said the Russian.

According to another former F1 driver, Ralf Schumacher, Horner sees Sainz as a good signing from the perspective that it protects the team from the prospect of losing Verstappen.

"Carlos is used to sitting next to strong drivers," he told Sky Deutschland. "And Verstappen's time there will also come to an end eventually. Carlos knows this. He believes he can beat him."

Former F1 engineer Kees van de Grint, however, told Viaplay: "Perez will stay. He's not the best, but he's one of the better drivers, whilst Verstappen is in a class of his own.

A potential problem for Sainz at Mercedes, however, is that Toto Wolff is clearly grooming the teenaged Kimi Antonelli for an eventual race seat - therefore limiting the potential length of a contract.

Former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde urges Sainz to be patient for now.

"He will of course be talking to everyone," said the Dutchman, "but if I was him, I'd wait and see.

"If there is an option to get into the best car, the Red Bull, great. But as long as Max is there, Sainz will not be there. I don't believe that.

"If something happens with Max and he chooses another team, as Red Bull I would get Sainz. But as long as Max is there, I see Perez staying for another two years."

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18 F1 Fan comments on “Mercedes and Sainz: F1 Deal in the Fast Lane for Next Season?

  1. Cutting Corners

    Mad if he does.

    My crystal balls say

    RB Max & Perez

    Ferrari Charles and that team hopper

    Bahrain Sovereign Wealth Fund McLaren. Norris & Pastry

    Wolff/Ineos/Daimler "Merc" Russell & Mick

    Dorilton/Wolff/Merc?2 Albon Antonelli

    Sauber Bottas & Zhou

    Aston Martin Alonso & Sainz

    Red Bull 2 Yuki & Lawson

    Haas KMag & Hulk

    Alpine if they still exist Ocon & Gasly.

    • Jere Jyrälä

      Independent teams serving others is a past thing, & Williams has priorities elsewhere.
      Besides, they wouldn't really even benefit from taking a temporary rookie, especially if his minimal single-seater experience caused him to excessively hold the team back.
      Even if they let Sargeant go, they'd more likely offer someone with vast F1 racing experience, like Bottas, if his time at Team Hinwill ends.
      Antonelli should simply continue in F2 for a second year rather than switch to the highest level without being wholly ready mentally, so people should stop thinking about him in any 2025 context, but even more so, Williams.
      Mick hasn't really achieved anything in F1 to justify such a high-level team drive & apparently, Sainz is close to a Mercedes move with an announcement scheduled for the Chinese GP weekend, although I'm skeptical about this.
      However, Alonso's continuation all but confirmed an unchanged lineup for AMR once again.
      I definitely agree with Haas as I can't see driver changes happening there either because, well, the same reason as Williams, but more critically, Gene clearly prefers experienced drivers because of what happened with Mick, & that's only a recent past thing, not to mention drivers aren't even an issue for them to any extent, so changing for the sake of changing would be pointless.
      Finally, I've got a feeling either Bottas or Zhou or even both, will get sacked as Audi mightn't necessarily want either of them.

      • Cutting Corners

        Yeah I went Stroll going to head up their WEC. Saves face and frees seat. Alpine & Haas I was just bored to think anything different. Mick was a joke. Trading in my crystal balls for a razor sharpening pyramid.

      • Jere Jyrälä

        Too early to conclude that about either team, especially Haas, who've clearly preferred experienced drivers after what happened with Mick, not to mention drivers aren't even a problem area for them, so I can't see them changing for the sake of changing, i.e., only Sauber/Audi were a viable option for & or offered Hulk.
        For now, I also expect Alpine to have an unchanged lineup for next year simply because viable options are rather limited to both drivers & wouldn't necessarily be any better ones in the short-term.

    • Jere Jyrälä

      He already had his (theoretical) chance back in 2019 before Bottas eventually received (at the time) another renewal, so people should stop with this unrealistic thought that he'd suddenly get another chance this long afterwards when things have clearly moved on & times changed.
      Additionally, I know I've made this point before, but he hasn't been in association with Mercedes & definitely not the F1 team specifically since 2020, & this was made clear already after his Team Enstone switch announcement in August 2019, so people should've realized the difference a while ago already.
      Even if he was still managed by Toto (which doesn't really seem to be the case anymore), that's only a case of a single individual rather than an entity, so no more than Bottas pre-2017.
      No more in association with Mercedes than Gasly, Sainz, Albon & co., with Red Bull, Piastri-Zhou with Renault Group, Mick with Ferrari, etc.
      Mercedes-related things are simply in the past, & they clearly have other drivers in priority as Hamilton's successor, namely Antonelli, followed by Sainz, or possibly even the other way around if source claims are to be believed that a formal announcement would be made on the Chinese GP weekend.

      • Jere Jyrälä

        I forgot to mention Max alongside Antonelli & Sainz, with him being the #1 target, but as him voluntarily leaving the best-performing team is highly unlikely, the former duo are effectively the first priorities in whichever order.

  2. shroppyfly

    Ocon confirms ongoing Mercedes links ahead of 2025 vacancyImage by Jake Grant/Motorsport Images
    By Chris Medland | February 8, 2024 3:35 PM ET

    Esteban Ocon has confirmed he is still managed by Mercedes and comes under its roster of drivers amid the vacancy left by Lewis Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari for 2025.

    Hamilton surprised many by opting to exercise a release clause in his Mercedes contract at the end of this season and move to Ferrari, having signed a new deal in the latter half of last year. That leaves Mercedes with all of 2024 to secure a replacement and multiple names have been linked to the seat. Ocon says he has strong ties but needs to deliver on track for Alpine to be in the frame.

    “It is clear that I’ve got good links with Mercedes,” Ocon said. “I’m still managed by them in a way, I’m still a Merc junior even if I’m not that ‘junior’ any more. But my focus goes into the racing and into the plan that we have with Alpine and I need to focus on what’s on track, which is the most important. If that goes well, there’s always talk, rumors and the things that you guys love, that’s what’s happening when you do a good job.”

    While Ocon didn’t offer a reaction to Hamilton’s move, he says it has triggered the driver market much earlier than usual and he expects it to lead to a long period of uncertainty regarding driver contracts.

    “I knew it was going to be a crazy season, for sure,” he said. “I didn’t think it was going to start that early because in January it’s early, but it’s going to be like that all year so you guys will have a lot of paper to write!”

    Ocon’s teammate Pierre Gasly believes Hamilton driving for Ferrari will boost Formula 1 as a whole, although he was also cautious about how it could impact his position in the driver market.

    “I think it’s great for the sport,” Gasly said. “It’s a big move, the most successful driver of our sport leaving Mercedes after the most successful collaboration ever as a team and a driver in Formula 1. It was a bit of a now or never, Lewis is coming towards the end of his career and he grabbed that opportunity and Ferrari did as well so it’s going to be interesting to follow that.

    “As a driver, I want to fight at the top of Formula 1. That’s what I do. I’ve been working every single day trying to chase every single thousandth of a second, hundredth of a second for a win because I want to fight for wins. And I’ve been fighting all my life with Max , Charles , Lando , George , all these guys, and that’s where I want to go ultimately and I really hope we manage to get that potential with Alpine and manage to get up there.”

  3. Kenneth J LaBry

    I think Perez stays at Red Bull. He is not of the same capability as Verstappen but no-one except perhaps Alonso is. He is of equivalent capability to the rest of the field and has the advantage that he is extremely popular throughout the US, Mexico, South America and Spain and sells a lot of Red Bull. Formula 1 is after all a commercial enterprise and the corporate governance at Red Bull will likely have a lot of influence.

    • Jere Jyrälä

      I also think he'll eventually stay for another season, but simply because he isn't giving a justification for sacking at the current rate as Red Bull, after all, never chooses drivers based on external factors, simply because, as a big organization, they've never needed to.

  4. Cutting Corners

    "Independent teams serving others is a past thing"

    Interesting as the Williams team members have the Mercedes (who are not partners )logo all over their uniforms whereas other customer teams do not.
    And with Wolff's information sharing arrangement it just doesn't ring true.
    But as you say "whatever"

    • Jere Jyrälä

      Perhaps Mclaren & Aston Martin simply prefer not to have the logo on their cars & clothing.
      Having a PU supplier's logo literally doesn't mean or imply anything deep, but simply a team-specific preference to show who's their supplier that way or not.

    • Jere Jyrälä

      Yes, a PU supplier, & so does Haas buy similar parts from Ferrari, & even Aston (or Mclaren) used to do so with gearboxes, iirc., so nothing unique.


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