Formula 1: Another marquee driver set for a major switch in 2025?

Thanks to Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season, Carlos Sainz Jr. is out of a seat. Could he make a surprising move himself?
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1 / Qian Jun/MB Media/GettyImages

Formula 1 is heading into just the fourth race weekend of the 2024 season next weekend at Suzuka Circuit in Japan. But even just three races deep into a 24-race schedule, how the 2025 grid shapes up has already been a major topic of discussion.

The 2025 season is expected to see a massive driver overhaul. After a first-ever occurrence in which all 20 drivers are back with the same teams in 2024, just a handful of drivers are under contract for next season. As a result, many fans curious as to who will end up where and how that will affect team dynamics next year.

One major shakeup that has already been announced is that Lewis Hamilton is set to leave Mercedes to join Ferrari for the 2025 season on a multi-year deal to partner Charles Leclerc, forming an elite one-two punch at the iconic team.

The addition of Hamilton no doubt signals Ferrari's ambitions to step up their game and challenge Red Bull in 2025. However, Red Bull themselves may have to do some stepping up of their own. With just one driver under contract, they are already a step behind Ferrari for next season.

While Max Verstappen is under contract through 2028, Sergio Perez is set to be out of contract at the conclusion of the year, leaving many to question who will partner the three-time reigning world champion next season.

Team principal Christian Horner recently alluded to a marquee driver who could be in the running to make the move to the two-time reigning world constructor champions.

Another marquee driver could be in for a major switch in 2025

While speaking after the Australian Grand Prix this past weekend, Horner slightly hinted that Red Bull could be looking to add Carlos Sainz Jr. as Verstappen's partner for 2025.

"You've had a very fast unemployed driver win today," Horner said of the driver set to be replaced by Hamilton next year. "The market is reasonably fluid with certain drivers."

And when asked if the Australian Grand Prix winner making a return to the Red Bull system in 2025 is on the table, Horner did not shut down the idea.

"Look, I mean based on a performance like that, you couldn't rule any possibility out," he continued.

Red Bull bringing in Sainz would make a lot of sense. He made his Formula 1 debut in 2015 with the Red Bull junior team then known as Toro Rosso, and Verstappen was his teammate. All things considered, bringing in a driver who already has experience with organization, even at a lower level, could make the move a perfect all-around fit.

Sainz at Red Bull would undoubtedly continue a massive grid shakeup for the 2025 season. The Spaniard is the only driver other than Max Verstappen to have won any of the last 21 races. He put an end to Verstappen's 10-race winning streak in Singapore last season, and the Dutchman's nine-race winning ended with Sainz's victory in Melbourne this past weekend.

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It would be interesting to see how a Verstappen and Sainz partnership would play out at Red Bull, given that both drivers are more experienced than in their Toro Rosso days together. Verstappen is also the certified number one at Red Bull, so seeing how the Dutchman would handle an arguably more competitive teammate than Perez would undoubtedly be something to watch.