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Formula 1: Williams team principal says his team is the ‘right option’ for Carlos Sainz in 2025

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Carlos Sainz is set to leave Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season. What Formula 1 team will he drive for in 2025? (Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

Williams would love to have Carlos Sainz in one of its cars in 2025.

The Ferrari driver is leaving the team at the end of the 2024 season and doesn’t have a ride lined up for next season. And he doesn’t have many options, either. Red Bull announced earlier in the week that Sergio Perez was returning to be Max Verstappen’s teammate, Mercedes’ open seat looks to be going to a different driver and McLaren and Aston Martin’s driver lineups are not changing ahead of next season.

At the moment, it looks like Sainz’s two choices are between Sauber — a team that will be an Audi factory team in 2026 — or Williams. And Williams team principal James Vowles made it clear Friday that he thinks his team would be a great fit for Sainz.

“It’s been highlighted that there’s one or two options for him and we’re very much one of those two,” Vowles said in Montreal (via F1). “I personally think we’re the right option — it’s a good match made together, but the choice remains, of course, his.”

It’s not unfair to say that either Sauber or Williams is a steep downgrade for Sainz. He won the Australian Grand Prix earlier this season and was the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in 2023. However, he was left without a ride this offseason when Ferrari shocked the racing world by signing Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 season and beyond.

Ferrari is second to Red Bull in the constructor’s standings through the first eight races of the season. Williams is tied for eighth with just two points and Sauber’s two drivers haven’t scored any so far in 2024.

But Williams hopes its long-term plan for success is appealing. And it needs a capable second driver. Alex Albon has shown what he can do when given a good car and is signed into the future at the team. Logan Sargeant returned for a second season at Williams in 2024, but he hasn’t made any strides. Sargeant was last among full-time drivers in 2023 with just one point and his average finish of 17.1 in 2024 is 1.3 spots worse than it was in 2023.

Sargeant seems unlikely to stay at Williams whether or not the team signs Sainz.

Sainz, meanwhile, said he’s unsurprised about the early-season developments in the driver market. Nico Hulkenberg is leaving Haas for Sauber next season, Esteban Ocon is leaving Alpine — and could head to Haas — and Mercedes could wind up promoting teenager Kimi Antonelli to replace Hamilton.

“Obviously the news that you’ve seen this week, I know from the inside a lot earlier than you guys, because I’m in touch with all those teams, and it’s no surprise for me,” Sainz said.

“My head is busy trying to perform in Ferrari and trying to win, and once I have all the options in front of me, on top of the table, that my management team is sorting out, it will be time to take a decision.”

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