F1 Rumor: Sainz Jr. eyes Red Bull seat alongside Verstappen (Update)

(GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr. insists it is still his priority to secure his future in Formula 1 as soon as possible.

The Spaniard headed into the winter break late last year insisting that he wanted a new Ferrari contract in his pocket ahead of the first race of 2024.

Ultimately, Ferrari only told him that he would be replaced for 2025 by Lewis Hamilton. When asked by Marca if the news had liberated him somewhat for the forthcoming season at Ferrari, Sainz Jr. answered: “First of all I want to solve my future to be clear about where I am going to go – what comes next.

“Obviously, they are not going to count on me much to develop the car, so that does allow me to focus solely and exclusively on getting the most out of myself.”

Already linked with Sauber-Audi, Mercedes and Red Bull for 2025, the 29-year-old admits he might not get the quick outcome he is seeking.

“Honestly, I have no idea when it will be resolved, because right now the only thing we are doing is talking to everyone and finding out a little about what position each team has for availability and seeing which project suits my needs and intentions,” Sainz said.

His famous father, rallying legend Carlos Sainz Sr., was conspicuously present at the pre-season test last week, reportedly helping to sound out his son’s potential opportunities.

When asked if he wants an immediately quick car for 2025 or a promising project for the future, Sainz jr admitted: “Both.

“In the ideal case I will look to be in a good position both next year and in the future, but in fact I believe that with the change in regulations around the corner, you are having to take into consideration the future much more than ever.”

Sainz admitted that Mercedes and Red Bull are both options.

“I think Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are the three teams that you undoubtedly know will be there next year, or for whatever happens even in 2026,” he said.

“But I’m still looking outside of those teams because of how F1 is changing.”

Beating his continuing Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc this year would give Sainz’s chances of a top seat a big boost.

“Carlos is very strong mentally, he never gives up, he is always there and always strong,” fellow Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, an Aston Martin ambassador, told Marca newspaper.

“Leclerc seems to be having a little more trouble with the new car.”

Russian F1 commentator Alexey Popov, meanwhile, thinks 2024 is a critical season for Leclerc, given that he will be paired with seven time world champion Hamilton from next year.

“Charles has a chance, but he has to grow up in his own head,” he said on VKontakte. “His constant self-flagellation, like (Lando) Norris – they need to look at Senna, Schumacher, Verstappen, Alonso, who never have the slightest doubt about themselves.

“If Charles just wants to remain a good guy, Lewis will eat him up even at the age of 40 and not knowing how to speak Italian.”

February 25, 2024 

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. formed Toro Rosso’s all-rookie line-up in 2015, and they may be teammates again in 2025.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Ferrari contract expires at the end of the current season, and he is currently without a ride for 2025 and beyond.

While rumors have suggested Sainz Jr. would sign to drive for the Audi/Sauber team, my sources say that is not going to happen because Sainz has no desire to wait years for the Audi team to be a race winner, if ever.

Our sources now say that Carlos Sainz Sr. is trying to convince Dr. Helmut Marko and Christian Horner to sign his son to replace Sergio Perez, who is deemed to be too slow.

A photo circulated on the internet shows Perez engaged in discussions with Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff because he knows his days are numbered at Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz Sr with Horner Marko and Newey in Bahrain
Carlos Sainz Sr meets with Horner Marko and Newey at the pre-season Bahrain test

While Daniel Riccardo has his eyes firmly set on the 2nd Red Bull seat in 2025, there are question marks on whether he has lost the edge and is no longer fast enough to compete against the likes of Verstappen.

The Case For Sainz Jr.

When Sainz Jr. and Verstappen were teammates at the then called Toro Rosso Red Bull ‘B’ team, they had some fierce battles and Sainz was right there with 17-year-old Verstappen in qualifying.

Verstappen’s prowess on race day – something that is even more apparent today – put him well ahead in the final championship standings.

Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Scuderia Toro Rosso poses with Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso in the pit lane for a team photograph during previews for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Granted, reliability and lady luck wasn’t on Sainz’s side with seven DNFs in 2015, but Verstappen ultimately had the edge overall.

It’s easy to forget that Verstappen was just 17 at the time, and 2015 was his second year in single-seaters, giving Sainz a significant advantage in terms of racing experience which he was unable to make the most of.

The pair were split up after just four races in 2016 as Verstappen replaced Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull ‘A’ team and the rest is history.

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