Sainz Waits on Decision Leaves Williams F1 Uncertain

Sainz May Drive for Alpine F1 in 2026 with Mercedes Power


Carlos Sainz might join Alpine F1 in 2026, leaving Williams F1 awaiting his decision amid potential Mercedes engine deal.

Just a week ago, Carlos Sainz was rumoured to be heading to Williams F1 next year—rather than Audi.

However, Alpine F1 made a last-minute pitch to the Spaniard, proposing him as teammate to Pierre Gasly.

Carlos Sainz subsequently confessed in the Red Bull Ring paddock that he would take his time to make his choice.

And why the delay? Because Sainz’s future hinges on the engine future of Alpine F1.

The French team is seriously considering becoming a customer team from 2026—switching from its in-house (Renault) engine to Mercedes.

This switch would potentially make the French team immediately more competitive… there was clearly a lack of confidence in its own engine for 2026.

Nevertheless, according to reports in the British press, while initial contacts have been made between Alpine and Mercedes F1, no decision has been finalized yet. Such a ‘switch’ takes time. Mercedes will have to assess whether adding a third customer team, after Williams and McLaren F1, is technically feasible under new regulations.

Mercedes particularly needs to evaluate whether supplying an additional team would cost less or more than $15 million. Beyond this threshold, amounts are not deductible from capped budgets, making it a poor deal for the team’s engine division.

Regardless, Carlos Sainz is not close to making a decision if he is indeed waiting for Alpine F1’s final choice for next year. Moreover, there’s no guarantee he would say ‘yes’ to Alpine if the team dropped the Renault engine…

On the other hand, Alpine might benefit from playing for time: thus, its rivals Williams, Haas F1, and Audi would themselves be stalled in their decision-making.

A touch of impatience at Williams F1?

Is Williams F1 beginning to grow impatient? Might they be tempted to court another driver instead of waiting for Carlos Sainz?

According to James Vowles, the team boss, there’s nothing more Williams F1 could do. But a Plan B is also in preparation…

“We have done everything we could on our part to present to him, and to his family, the reasons why I believe this is the right place for him, why it is not an outsider’s gamble.”

“It’s the right place for him culturally and politically, but also from an investment and people perspective, and he would be pleasantly surprised to see where we stand by 2026.”

“But ultimately, the choice is his. He needs to decide what he feels and where he wants to be. I feel sorry for him, because he did not expect to find himself in such a situation.”

“He did not expect to have to choose between two factory teams (Audi and Alpine) that are assumed to be towards the back of the grid and Williams, but that’s the case. Such is the situation.”

“My decision is to ensure that I have enough options on the table and if these options disappear, I will take action, and I wish Carlos all the best.”

Sainz Waits on Decision Leaves Williams F1 Uncertain

Sainz Waits on Decision Leaves Williams F1 Uncertain. Sainz Waits on Decision Leaves Williams F1 Uncertain

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