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Ranking five possible 2025 moves for Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz

Following the revelation of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari for 2025, a ripple effect will be making its way through F1, with 12 out of 20 driver contracts expiring at the end of 2024.

This has left fans wondering where the pieces will fall for Carlos Sainz. 

Here, Planet Sport’s Monica De Los Angeles ranks five possible moves for the Spaniard.

5. Williams

In the last few seasons, we have seen Williams make major improvements and great strides in the development of their car. 

The 2023 season saw Williams at its best performance since 2017, despite only getting a single point from Logan Sargeant. 

It was made clear to fans that Alex Albon, the team's senior driver, was able to extract more from the car than they have in years under the leadership of new team Principal, James Vowels. 

However, it has been speculated by many that if Sargeant does not improve his performance he will be replaced, and one driver who could be in the running is Sainz. 

This season, Williams were able to go from last in the constructors championship to seventh. It’s possible for this to be one of the more enticing options to Sainz, given what Albon was able to accomplish there in 2023. 

Could we see Sainz make this move and build this legendary team back up? Especially with the new reports suggesting Mercedes’ interest in Albon to replace Hamilton. 

Only time will tell, but it would be interesting to see Albon and Sainz team up or for Sainz to take over the top spot.

4. Mercedes

The loss of Hamilton will leave some big shoes to fill at Mercedes and with this news, they are an obvious option for Sainz - but is he an option for them?

If Mercedes were to take on Sainz, it would be a simple swap and would allow him to move from one top team to another, but since Hamilton’s announcement, several news outlets have reported that Mercedes are considering a few different drivers to replace the seven-time World Champion’s seat. 

Some names reportedly on this list include Albon who is currently driving for Williams or Mercedes Junior Driver Kimi Antonelli. 

With Hamilton gone, it’s to be expected that fellow Brit, George Russell, will step into the #1 driver position for the team, which is important to note when considering what kind of driver would fit in well next to Russell. 

We shouldn’t count Sainz out of the running just yet, as it is clear that this season we will see him push to prove himself to every team on the grid. 

Appearing on the F1 Nation podcast to discuss Hamilton’s seismic move, F1 journalist Lawrence Barretto said: “I know that, at Mercedes, they want consistency and they want someone who’s going to not rock the boat. They want someone who’s going to get on well with George Russell and Carlos Sainz fits that bill.”

READ MORE: Lewis Hamilton: Final Mercedes car launch a 'surreal' experience

3. Aston Martin

Another team that could enter the 2025 pool of offers for Sainz, with a driver contract expiring soon, are Aston Martin. 

After starting the 2023 season strong with six podiums out of the first eight races, they were unable to keep that momentum going for the second half of the season. Despite this, they have become a team capable of fighting for podiums, with a world champion driving one of their cars. 

Still, Fernando Alonso’s contract is set to expire at the end of this year and though Aston Martin have made it clear they would like to pursue a multi-year contract, Alonso has yet to make any statements about his future with the team. 

If he were to leave, would that be a good sign for Sainz? If he were to sign with Aston Martin he would be following the footsteps of his childhood hero, Alonso. 

The other alternative to consider is the possibility of Lance Stroll’s contract coming to an end. 

There is no clear information regarding the length of Stroll's contract but in the 2023 season Stroll finished 132 points behind his team-mate and found himself trailing behind in race pace throughout the season. 

It’s possible there may come a time when Aston Martin will need to do something drastic in order to get the results they want. 

If Stroll was to leave Aston Martin, there's a potential to see Sainz driving alongside a fellow Spaniard and childhood idol at a team capable of winning races.

READ MORE: Aston Martin duo Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso gear up for F1 2024

2. Sauber/Audi

Early last year, it was confirmed that Audi would be making its formal entrance into Formula 1 in 2026 after purchasing a minority stake in Sauber, now called Stake F1 Team. 

"This is an important milestone on the way to Audi's entry in Formula One, scheduled for 2026, for which the Sauber Group will be the German brand's strategic partner," Sauber said in a statement. 

In the months that followed, there were many rumours surrounding drivers the new German manufacturer and Swiss constructor would be considering. At the time, the name at the top of the list was Sainz, as his father, Carlos Sainz Sr., is part of the Audi family, having led the Audi RS Q e-tron to Dakar victory earlier this year. 

Some news outlets even reported an alleged pre-contract had been signed between the two parties. 

Regardless, a source close to Sainz disclosed that their first choice was Ferrari. However, with those contract negotiations falling through, and Hamilton’s move to Ferrari, there is a clear opportunity for Sainz to join Sauber for the 2025 season until Audi’s arrival in 2026. 

This could allow Sainz to build stronger relationships with the team ahead of the new partnership taking effect and prepare him to fight for the championship. 

In fact, Sainz Sr. made a statement about his son's future with Audi, stating: “Audi, I think, is a guarantee. As you would expect at Carlos’ place, with me being part of the Audi family, it’s logical that we talk and exchange views on what the Audi team can be in the future.” 

Not to mention, his former team principal at McLaren, Andreas Seidl, was appointed Sauber’s chief executive last year and will be overseeing Audi’s entry. 

Suffice it to say, many signs are pointing to Sauber as a contender for Sainz’s signature.

1. Red Bull

A former Red Bull junior driver, there is a very serious chance for Sainz to return to his Red Bull family in 2025. 

Sainz made his Formula 1 debut with their junior team, previously known as Toro Rosso, but missed out on a Red Bull seat as he went out against Max Verstappen for Daniil Kvyat’s seat in 2016. 

As reports continue to consume the Formula 1 media, Sainz is being highlighted as a possible replacement for Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver’s contract ends at the end of 2024 and is not in a great position to renew his contract, after a poor performance last season. 

Although he secured two of Red Bull's wins and several podiums, his poor qualifying and large point gap to team-mate Verstappen, have apparently left his seat in jeopardy. 

According to reports, Sainz has been shortlisted to replace Perez at Red Bull next season but it would only be for one year as they are considering Albon as a contender for 2026 when his contract with Williams ends. 

Fans online don’t seem to think Albon will return to Red Bull after the incidents of 2020 when his seat alongside Verstappen was given to Perez. Though, if this is true, it seems to be one of the most plausible options for Sainz as this would give him the opportunity to return to his original home and learn from a team-mate like Verstappen before moving on and going head-to-head with him once again with Audi in 2026. 

The most recent reports indicate that Albon is the top choice for both Red Bull and Mercedes, with Sainz remaining a strong contender.

At the SF-24 car launch on Tuesday, Sainz made it very clear where his priorities lie as we quickly approach the first race of the season.

"The fact that I'm not going to be a Scuderia Ferrari driver in 2025 doesn't mean that we don't want to become champions together this year or win races this year," he said. "It's an important year for me because I'm still wearing red and I still have the target of becoming champion in Ferrari and I still have one more chance.”

It seems both Sainz and all the teams will have to keep their options open as he has nothing to lose and everything to gain, which we’re sure he’ll demonstrate on the track.

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