Jun.9 - There are just two candidates in the running to join Alex Albon at Williams next year, team boss James Vowles has admitted.

There is no longer any realistic doubt that Logan Sargeant will be ousted at the end of the season.

"We need more from him, really, to be able to save his seat," Vowles admitted in Montreal.

Formula 1 touched down at the scene of the Canadian GP a few days ago to rumours that Ferrari refugee Carlos Sainz has now signed - or will imminently sign - a Williams contract.

"The consensus in the paddock is that Sainz will sign with Williams for two years within the next few days," claims veteran F1 journalist Roger Benoit, writing for Blick.

Vowles makes no mistake that Sainz is the top contender.

"On the list we have two drivers," he said. "We have been quite transparent in recognising what the main option is. Now the question is to find a way to convince Carlos, who I think is an incredible driver."

Vowles also says Sainz, 29, has "two options" for 2025 - the other one obviously being Sauber-Audi.

As for Williams' second option for 2025, it could be the newly-available Alpine driver Esteban Ocon - even if the Frenchman's reputation as a team player is currently in tatters.

"I've known Esteban for about ten years now," Vowles told Canal Plus. "I've worked with him, and I called him after Monaco.

"In my opinion, the world was very hard on him," he added, referring to the crash with Ocon's teammate Pierre Gasly. "Esteban is very, very fast, but fast at a level that, when he was against (Fernando) Alonso, they were basically identical in qualifying.

"It's significant because it means he deserves his place in Formula 1," Vowles said.

"It's true that he is often close to his teammate, and there has been contact, there's no doubt about that, but I also reassured him that he is very, very fast. And that's the hardest part to do when you're a driver."

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