Carlos Sainz: Ferrari driver drops hint over preferred 2025 seat amid Red Bull, Mercedes interest | F1 News

Carlos Sainz appeared to provide clues as to his preferred 2025 Formula 1 seat as the outgoing Ferrari driver offered an update on talks over his future.

Ferrari decided to let Sainz go after signing Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes for next season, but the Spaniard’s hugely impressive start to 2024 has made him the standout free agent in a fluid driver market.

Mercedes are seeking a replacement for Hamilton, while Red Bull could have a seat to fill alongside world champion Max Verstappen, with Sergio Perez’s contract expiring at the end of the season.

Fernando Alonso had also been linked with those seats, along with the possibility of retirement, but the two-time world champion last week signed a contract extension with Aston Martin to rule out what could have been another potential option for Sainz.

“I think for sure all my best options are still open, which I think is a positive thing and something that obviously requires a bit of time, given the situation of the market,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1 on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

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On the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Martin Brundle advises Sainz to keep his options open when deciding where to go as his Ferrari days near an end

“I think it’s going to take some time for everyone to make their own mind and their own decisions, but the good options are still open.”

Sainz has finished on the podium at all three of the races he has competed in this season, while his victory in Australia was made even more impressive by the fact it came just two weeks after he had missed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix following an appendectomy.

Since his Ferrari exit was confirmed, Sainz has maintained that his priority in finding a new team would be remaining in a car that gives him the opportunity to fight for more race victories.

While Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff have both publicly acknowledged Sainz’s form, it is only the former who can guarantee a race-winning car in the short term.

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Red Bull’s recent dominance has been such that Sainz’s victory in Australia, along with a win in Singapore last season, make him the only driver from another team to have a won a race since the start of 2023.

New regulations could completely reset the pecking order in 2026, but Sainz’s admission that a race-winning car for 2025 would be “very appealing” suggests he could be waiting on Red Bull.

“When I said we have been talking to every team, we have been talking to every team. That’s what I meant with the good options in terms of a race-winning [team],” Sainz said.

“It all depends on the compromises or the offers and what everyone offers. There’s very good options out there, which makes me still smile and be positive about my future.

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A quick look back at some of the biggest moments from the Chinese Grand Prix over the years…

“At the same time, I know some of those options don’t fully depend on me. It may depend on some people taking decisions, which means I need to wait in a way and keep doing what I’m doing and things will hopefully be decided sooner rather than later. If it’s later and it’s still good, I will be happy to wait.

“Regarding 2025, for sure, my opinion is, with the level I’m showing and I’m driving now, obviously being in a competitive car would be very appealing for me. But again, it doesn’t depend on me and I need to keep waiting.”

Leclerc: Sainz is doing a better job

Despite having been chosen to remain with the team as Hamilton’s team-mate, Charles Leclerc has been outperformed by Sainz over the opening weeks of the season.

Leclerc, who in January signed a multi-year contract extension of his own, is yet to finish ahead of Sainz in a race this year.

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says Sainz has been doing a better job this season and admits he has been struggling more than his team-mate

“He’s doing a better job,” Leclerc said. “In Bahrain it was difficult to compare because on my side I was facing issues and I think it was a very strong weekend apart from that.

“However, in the last two races he’s just been stronger, so it’s up to me now to work, especially in the qualifying pace, which is normally a strength. I’ve been struggling to put the lap together.”

Leclerc is widely regarded as one of the fastest drivers over one lap with 23 pole positions to his name, but Sainz has outqualified him in the last two events in Australia and Japan.

Due to the Sprint format in Shanghai, there are two Qualifying sessions for the two races and Leclerc believes he can turn around his recent disappointing form on a Saturday.

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Leclerc ranted on team radio at the decision to go out later in final practice at the Japanese GP

“It’s a very fine line to get it right or completely wrong on the outlap and putting the tyres in the right window.

“For now, I have been struggling more than what Carlos has done and he’s driving at a very high level, which I think is great for the team and is great for me as well.

“I have been working a lot on that. Normally when I work on points, I’m quite confident of improving pretty quickly, so I’m not worried, but obviously now I need to show that on track, starting from tomorrow (Friday) in qualifying.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Chinese GP schedule

China schedule

Friday April 19
4am: Chinese GP Practice One (session starts at 4.30am)*
8am: Chinese GP Sprint Qualifying (session starts at 8.30am)*

Saturday April 20
3.30am: Chinese GP Sprint (race starts at 4am)*
7am: Chinese GP Qualifying build-up*
8am: Chinese GP Qualifying*
10am: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook*

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A quick look back at some of the biggest moments from the Chinese Grand Prix over the years…

Sunday April 21
7am: Grand Prix Sunday: Chinese GP build-up*
10am: Chequered Flag: Chinese GP reaction*
11am: Ted’s Notebook*

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

Next up is the return of the Chinese Grand Prix on April 19-21, which is also the first Sprint weekend of the season. You can watch every session live on Sky Sports F1 and steam every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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