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Briatore Sainz Ready to Commit to Alpine-Mercedes

Sainz Set to Ink Deal with Alpine-Mercedes, Says Briatore

06/07/2024

Carlos Sainz is reportedly on the brink of signing a contract with Alpine-Mercedes, according to Flavio Briatore.

Carlos Sainz has stated at Silverstone that he has had his final say on his Formula 1 future beyond 2024 until an official announcement is ready to be made.

Visibly irked, he told Spanish journalists at Silverstone last night, after Free Practice 2: “Are you seriously going to ask me the same questions on Friday as on Thursday? I have decided not to discuss my future until I make my decision.”

Does this suggest that an announcement is imminent? It is quite likely, according to several rumours this morning.

The Ferrari driver is said to have rejected an offer from Sauber/Audi F1 and may have tested the patience of Williams boss James Vowles, perhaps too far, by missing several deadlines.

Vowles is now talking about a ‘Plan B’ for 2025.

“Fundamentally, yes. The answer is simple. I think we are at about Y or Z now, just to be clear.”

Interestingly, Vowles’ former boss at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, has re-entered the fray, suggesting that 17-year-old protégé Kimi Antonelli might not be ready to debut next year following an unimpressive first season in Formula 2.

“Antonelli, Sainz, and Verstappen each have a 33.3% chance of being with us next year. That’s the situation we have. We need to make the best decision for the team and also for Kimi, who is still young. We are waiting for more information.”

But Sainz seems currently closest to signing a contract with Alpine, with the team’s new advisor Flavio Briatore having lavished praise on him.

“Sainz has a contract proposal on the table,” Briatore confirms. “It’s now up to him to say yes or no.”

The Italian adds that he would be ‘ready’ to sign an Alpine… Mercedes F1 contract. So, that’s why he talks about a contract proposal since it’s necessary first to secure the Mercedes engine signature. Clearly, Briatore has presented him with a credible revival plan, including switching from Renault power units to Mercedes from 2026.

Toto Wolff admitted that he would like to sell an engine to a new client (read here). Exploratory discussions have already taken place with Alpine.

If Alpine fails to secure Sainz’s signature, Plan B is either Jack Doohan or Mick Schumacher, both of whom tested at Paul Ricard on Wednesday with a 2022 Alpine.

The results of the tests are kept under wraps, but Doohan was reportedly slightly faster than Schumacher, the latter impressing the engineers with his feedback as he was new to the car. Not enough to make a clear distinction, though!

“The test went well for both, to be honest,” said Bruno Famin, the boss of the Alpine team. “They had a very similar programme and both performed very well.”

“They are both on the list, and the list is still quite long. More than three names.”

Briatore: Sainz 'Ready' to Commit to Alpine-Mercedes

Briatore: Sainz ‘Ready’ to Commit to Alpine-Mercedes. Briatore: Sainz ‘Ready’ to Commit to Alpine-Mercedes

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