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Wolff's Strategic Gamble on Sainz

Wolff’s Strategic Gamble on Sainz

21/05/2024

Mercedes F1’s Toto Wolff is prepared to miss out on Carlos Sainz to Audi, focusing instead on assessing the 2025 driver market.

MWolff has stated he is willing to risk missing out on Carlos Sainz (to Audi) in order to evaluate the driver market for 2025.

The German manufacturer is assessing options to pair a new driver with George Russell next season, following Lewis Hamilton’s decision to move to Ferrari.

Wolff has openly expressed his primary desire to recruit Max Verstappen, but the Dutchman is under contract and has indicated he will stay as long as his team’s performance and environment remain satisfactory.

Sainz is the most sought-after officially available driver, with Audi making him their “priority target,” according to Andreas Seidl and Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

Sainz has until the end of the month to respond to Audi’s offer, and Wolff has admitted that Mercedes F1 is ready to let this option go in order to take its time.

“I think Carlos belongs in Formula 1; he’s a race winner with Ferrari over the past two years and someone with great experience.”

“What I’ve said is that I’m willing to compromise on certain decisions and wait a long time to see how the situation unfolds over the summer and autumn.”

“With George, we have a great driver with us; he is fantastic. We will then see who his teammate will be. Since we have a top driver, we don’t need to make this decision now because things could get interesting.”

Wolff Eyes Red Bull Developments and the Progress of Young Talent Andrea Kimi Antonelli

Wolff is clearly considering the evolving situation at Red Bull, as well as the potential of one of his young drivers, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who has already impressed Mercedes F1 engineers.

The Italian is balancing his F2 responsibilities with a rigorous testing program in previous Mercedes F1 cars as he prepares to step up to the next level.

Rumors suggest that Williams has applied for an exemption to waive the FIA’s minimum age rules for Antonelli, 17, but Wolff opposes a premature debut in F1.

“We have been preparing this young man for a long time now, and he will be a very good and great driver in F1 one day, but he is 17. Fourteen months ago, he was driving in F4.”

“And there are so many expectations in Italy. We are partly to blame for this as well, and I think we should let him do his thing in F2 and produce results without getting carried away by what could or should be. Look at George; he won F3 and F2 in his first year.”

“At the same time, Kimi has delivered on his promises in these junior series and is now in F2, so we will see. He will be in F1 one day, but let’s not rush it.”

Wolff’s Strategic Gamble on Sainz Wolff’s Strategic Gamble on Sainz

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