Formula 1: Surprise landing spot emerges for Carlos Sainz Jr.

After several months of rumors about Carlos Sainz Jr.'s next Formula 1 team, Alpine have emerged as a candidate for the Spaniard’s signature.
Carlos Sainz, Formula 1
Carlos Sainz, Formula 1 / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

Ever since Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari for the 2025 season was announced in early February, rumors have been plentiful regarding Carlos Sainz Jr.’s next team. Initially, many expected a move to Red Bull or Mercedes. However, luck has not been on the Spaniard’s side, as his options now seem to be down to Sauber/Audi, Williams, and Alpine.

Alpine have recently entered the race to get the 29-year-old’s signature, despite the many rumors suggesting that Sainz would be teaming up with Alex Albon at Williams next season. As odd of a move as it may seem, Alpine actually may be one of the better options for Sainz, with his final decision likely coming soon.

This development comes after the famed Flavio Briatore was announced to be making his return to Alpine in an advisory role. After being banned for life from Formula 1 for his role in the controversial "Crashgate" incident during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, a reversal of the ban has led to his return, over a decade and a half later.

The Italian was seen this past weekend speaking with the father of Carlos Sainz Jr., and the pair were seen exchanging phone numbers. That may imply that negotiations between Sainz and Alpine could advance further in coming weeks. Odds are that Sainz's next destination will be announced during the upcoming summer break.

What makes Alpine an appealing choice for Carlos Sainz Jr.?

Alpine opened up the 2024 season as one of the slowest teams on the grid. However, nearly halfway through the season, they have improved and been in a battle with Aston Martin for the fifth fastest car.

After Esteban Ocon’s departure from the team was announced just a few weeks ago, the initial expectation was for Jack Doohan to fill the vacancy. But the team's apparent interest in Sainz indicates otherwise and speaks to their drive toward a big improvement in results for 2025.

Though Alpine seem like a mess at quick glance, the changes they have made have set themselves up for success in the long run.

After a drama-filled 2023 season which featured a managerial clearout and the welcoming of several high-profile investors, Alpine have come away from it with a much better outlook moving forward. With the improvements they have made to open the 2024 season, led by team principal Bruno Famin, it is clear that they are looking to be P5 in 2025 and beyond.

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As for Sainz, Alpine may be his best option. Williams have been deathly slow this season and Sauber have faced quite a few struggles themselves. But each of the three options have valid attractive features, so it will be very interesting to see the direction in which the Spanish driver decides to go for the next chapter of his career.