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2025 F1 Stalemate Sainz Held 'Hostage' by Mercedes

2025 F1 Stalemate: Sainz Held ‘Hostage’ by Mercedes

20/04/2024

As the F1 2025 season approaches, the transfer market stalls with Sainz caught in a strategic hold by Mercedes.

The transfer market has entered a certain stagnation, admitted by team directors in Shanghai.

After Fernando Alonso’s signing with Aston Martin F1, only one door closed (potentially for Carlos Sainz), but no domino effect is expected.

According to Toto Wolff, it’s still a waiting game.

“We are moving at our own pace,” says the Mercedes F1 director.

“There are things happening behind the scenes, and we are waiting for them to unfold,” he adds, clearly referring to the situation at Red Bull.

“If nothing moves, then we have the most attractive seat on the market and the best will wait for our decision.”

“We were caught off guard by Lewis (Hamilton)’s announcement in February, and now I want the exact opposite for our next driver decision. It will be made with all cards on the table.”

Rumors born in Italy, quickly denied, spoke of an upcoming agreement with Carlos Sainz.

“Carlos is certainly doing a great job. I have nothing to say about that. He is definitely one of the drivers we are considering, but as you know, the situation is complex,” adds Wolff, who is still waiting for a possible departure from Max Verstappen.

It remains to be seen if Sainz can wait that long to not miss the Audi F1 opportunity.

“Audi is making him an offer, but then he would have no chance of being at the forefront next year. The team (Sauber) won’t even be Audi by then. And driving alongside Verstappen would not be fun for him at Red Bull. I don’t think he will ever agree to become the number two driver again,” analyzes Nico Rosberg.

When asked what Sainz needs to do to convince Wolff to hand him the wheel of a Mercedes, the world champion adds, “It’s very simple. He should only propose a one-year contract.”

“With an option on Toto’s side, of course. It’s not a good position for Carlos because he deserves better.”

“But from Toto’s perspective, it’s likely that he’d want to keep flexibility for the following year to possibly bring in someone like Antonelli, or even Max Verstappen. There are a lot of rumors.”

“If Carlos wants to drive for Mercedes, he needs to propose doing it for one year with an uncertainty afterwards.”

“It’s not easy being held hostage by the market like this. It’s not right. But that’s what he needs to do.”

However, seeing Max Verstappen leave Red Bull prematurely is also unlikely for many—and that’s almost certainly why his current teammate Sergio Perez seems secure at least for 2025.

The Mexican is pushing for a contract of at least two years.

“I think that makes a lot more sense. I don’t think it makes sense to hire a driver for one year and then start all over with another driver when all the rules change for 2026, right?”

“Especially since there will be a lot of development next year, in the middle of the year, so it’s important to be part of a long-term project.”

Finally, Dr. Helmut Marko states that Sebastian Vettel is indeed considering coming out of retirement next year, but he’s struggling to secure a seat!

“I think he wants it if he sees the opportunity to have a top car somewhere. Then he’d be ready to come back for that.”

“The problem is he’s been out of the game for more than a year and there aren’t many leading seats available.”

2025 F1 Stalemate Sainz Held 'Hostage' by Mercedes

2025 F1 Stalemate: Sainz Held ‘Hostage’ by Mercedes. 2025 F1 Stalemate: Sainz Held ‘Hostage’ by Mercedes

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