Formula 1: How each of Carlos Sainz Jr.'s options disappeared for 2025

The list of options for Carlos Sainz Jr. after losing his Ferrari seat to Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 Formula 1 season has dwindled significantly.
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari, Formula 1 / Qian Jun/MB Media/GettyImages

Following the announcement of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari for the 2025 Formula 1 season, silly season has produced plenty of speculation regarding Carlos Sainz Jr.'s next team, given the fact that he is currently having a decent season and has arguably been performing at the same level as teammate Charles Leclerc.

One could even argue that he had a short stint of performing better than Leclerc, a stint including his victory in Australia and several other podium finishes.

It was believed that Sainz was set on leaving Ferrari for Audi, and because he was reportedly stalling with Ferrari, the Italian side moved on to the seven-time world champion.

However, Audi are only set to enter Formula 1 in 2026, leaving Sainz without a team for the 2025 season unless he opted to join Sauber.

With Sainz and his team having reportedly stalled with Audi as well, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Red Bull were all said to have approached the 29-year-old Spaniard regarding a 2025 drive.

Carlos Sainz Jr.'s options dwindle for 2025

Sainz made it clear that he was looking for a car that could allow him to get more victories. While the talks were taking place, Red Bull's Helmut Marko broke the silence by mentioning to an Austrian publication that the team wouldn't be able to match Audi’s offer.

However, there was still some hope at Red Bull, since Sergio Perez’s contract was set to end after the 2024 season, and that hope was amplified amid his recent struggles. But that option was completely shut down before the Canadian Grand Prix, as Perez renewed his contract with the team for two more years.

Aston Martin’s place in the race was also short-lived, as Fernando Alonso had no plans to retire and also signed a two-year contract extension with the team.

This left Sainz with only Mercedes, and they had reportedly backed out of talks. Toto Wolff stated that the team wanted to focus on young talent, implying that Kimi Antonelli could take over that seat either next year or the following year.

Audi, too, began to lose patience as time passed, having given Sainz an initial deadline of after the Monaco Grand Prix to make a choice. A couple weeks beforehand, Nico Hulkenberg was revealed as Audi's first driver, confirming his exit from Haas and thus leaving the seat vacant for reserve driver Oliver Bearman.

Where will Carlos Sainz Jr. end up in 2025?

Following much speculation, as well as statements from James Vowles during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, it appears that Sainz is in line to join Williams to drive alongside Alex Albon next year.

However, the team have not confirmed this yet, opening up the possibility for yet another option to fade out of the picture if things don't go Sainz's way.

Sainz fans have undoubtedly been confused and even somewhat outraged by the situation, which is understandable, given the transition of rumors from top teams and a fancy new one to a midfield one.

It is possible that Sainz was stalling with Audi due to the uncertainty that could be caused by the change in regulations from the 2026 season, the pressure of potentially having to leave the German team if the project he had helped to set up failed, and other offers from already established teams.

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Marko's comments about Audi's deal being "impossible to beat" suggest that the contract may have been reinforced by a number of other stipulations, otherwise it would simply be too good to be true.