Carlos Sainz Jnr, Charles Leclerc

Leclerc sure “many team principals” are pursuing Sainz for 2025 seat

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc is certain his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr will have several drives to choose from next year after losing his place at Ferrari.

Ferrari announced before the season began Lewis Hamilton will take Sainz’s place alongside Leclerc next year. But with Mercedes, Red Bull and many others yet to confirm their 2025 line-ups, and Sainz giving a timely reminder of his potential with victory in Australia last week, Leclerc is confident he can find a competitive seat.

“I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth in the paddock,” said Leclerc, who finished second to his team mate in Melbourne. “He’s one of the highest-rated drivers in the paddock and he’s been extremely strong every time he was in a Formula 1 car. He has showed it multiple times.

“So I don’t think he’s underrated. I think everybody knows Carlos’ worth. I’m not too worried about his future, because I’m sure that many, many team principals are… he doesn’t say it, but for sure they are speaking with him. And I’m sure he will have many opportunities and he’ll just have to make the best choice for his career.”

Sainz’s win was the third of his career. He is the only driver other than Max Verstappen to have won in the last 21 races.

The pair arrived in F1 together at the same team nine years ago, and although Sainz has not had the same success in his career as Verstappen, he isn’t concerned that may lead some outside of the teams he has worked at to question his potential.

“I think people that know me, or have shared a team with me, or people that have worked with me, know me and I don’t feel underrated by people that know about this sport,” he said.

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“Other people that maybe don’t have an insight and don’t know as much about this sport, if they want to underrate me, I’m fine with that. I don’t care, honestly.

“But I care about the people that know the sport well and about my team mates, the people that have seen my data, seen how I work, seen my speed, that’s the thing I care about. And I don’t feel underrated by them.”

He said his latest win “for sure does no harm” to his chances of getting a front-running seat next year. “I’m still without a job for next year so I guess this is going to help it.

“I think everyone knows more or less what I’m capable of doing. I do race for myself. I race to keep proving to myself that I can win whenever I get a competitive car and whenever there’s an opportunity to win in a weekend.

“I don’t race to prove to team principals or to prove to people my value. I race to prove to myself that if I’m given a car, I can get it done and I can be up there, you know, and that’s the mentality and the approach that I have and I will keep having the rest of the year.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Leclerc sure “many team principals” are pursuing Sainz for 2025 seat”

  1. It’s time to return home and drive for Red Bull.

    1. That’s definitely my preferred outcome as a viewer! It’d be fun!

      Sainz at Mercedes with Russell doesn’t really seem all that exciting, especially as the team seems a bit lost on how to move forward. And given their fragmented ownership, their future is not all that certain. It’s not really a works team anymore, in some sense. And unless something truly extraordinary happens, Audi won’t be competitive for a long time. Not with Sauber. So that seems like a waste for Sainz to be at this point in his career.

      Would Sainz want to race with Verstappen again? It got quite tense at Toro Rosso… and it’s an open question if Horner can focus on his job long enough to manage that kind of driver pairing. Verstappen would likely have the upper hand, but Sainz would be more of a Rosberg than a Bottas. Not the favourite to win, but quick enough to annoy, and probably often enough to cause some tension. It’d be great for F1, probably great for Sainz – but would Red Bull want to?

      1. It’d be interesting, sort of “justice is done” if red bull now hired sainz, because it’d be a repeat of the perez situation: a worse team kicks a driver out for a driver that might or might not be an upgrade when the previous driver was doing a good job, and the kicked out driver actually gets a promotion cause he lands in the best team, it was the previous team not deserving the driver!

    2. I disagree.
      Red Bull is team Max. No one else matters to them.
      Going to Red Bull would be the same as saying you have lost all interest in winning.

      Grab the Merc seat – or Aston, if Fernando flips, would be my advice.

      1. I agree with you, @nullapax

      2. you know his chief mechanic decided to quit last year.

        and if they bring in Alonso, Christian will use Alonso to diminish Max to the point where his bargaining leverage drops through the floor. Max better hope Aramco buys the team from Stroll, and he runs for cover, cause Alonso will destroy Max.

        1. As good as alonso is, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to match verstappen, who’s one of the strongest drivers of all times at this age, let alone destroy him.

          I’d like alonso at red bull too, but it’s not as clear cut as you say.

          1. Alonso has a very keen mind, and is not averse to using political manoeuvres to get his way. And Max and his Father are famously hot headed. Could be fun!

    3. Dusty, Marko does not seem to be particularly keen on the idea of Sainz rejoining Red Bull, and been somewhat dismissive of the idea in recent public comments. If anything, Marko’s recent comments have indicated Red Bull would prefer to extend Perez’s contract for at least another year, if not possibly longer.

  2. Sainz and Alonso would be the smartest/best race craft pairing of all time. And Carlos would get to be teammates with his childhood hero. We just need to get the window licker out of there.

    1. Yes, would be a super pairing indeed in terms of reading the race, and both spanish and the only ones who managed to win races from that country!

  3. Sainz has been recovering well from his awful 2022 season. Well enough that he still may land on a good seat and not on something like Sauber.

    A shame the good options are somewhat limited.

    1. Was it really that awful? He would probably had beaten Charles again without the unlucky manhole cover issue in Vegas, and you cannot blame him for that (though you can blame the unsporting Mercedes team for the consequences)

      1. I’m talking about 2022, dude.

      2. Edvaldo already specified he was talking about 2022, not 2023, and I wanted to say that you should check in particular early 2022, stuff like australia, he was so bad I’ve been criticising ferrari for extending his contract at the time, seemed like a dumb move.

        He seems much better now, enough to make me change opinion about him as a driver.

      3. Was it really that awful?

        Not really. Sainz had the misfortune of having a very poor Australian weekend (which was the only race Ferrari outright dominated that year) and then being shoved out on lap 1 in the following race. As Leclerc was riding a high following two Verstappen retirements, that made Sainz’ results, and efforts, look particularly weak by comparison.

        But they were almost matched pointswise after the British Grand Prix (following 2 DNFs for Leclerc, 1 for Sainz) and they stayed pretty close until Sainz crashed out of the Japanese race, and was then subsequently taken out of the race by a reckless Russell in the following Texas race. Five no-score results is pretty bad at the front of the field in modern times.

        So it was definitely his weakest season at Ferrari, but it wasn’t that bad. Certainly not awful. In terms of averages, Sainz (3.5) and Leclerc (3.3) weren’t that dissimilar, nor were they separated by much in qualifying results with Sainz (3.8) again trailing Leclerc (3.0), but not by much. In both cases, they had the second and third best averages of the field behind Verstappen.

        1. the results itself aren’t really fair to Leclerc that season, as he was ahead of Sainz in at least 2 races and Ferrari made such a mess on the strategy that he ended behind, like Silverstone and Hungaroring.

          Others he was ahead and retired, like Spain and Baku, in which Sainz also retired.

          In fact, if Hamilton’s car hadn’t failed him on the last round, he too would finish ahead on Sainz on the standings and Sainz would finish 6th and last of the top 3 teams with a car that was easily 2nd fastest that year.

  4. everyone is waiting to see if aramco buys the team from stroll

  5. Maybe the best thing would be for Ferrari to realise their mistake and rip up Hamilton’s contract. They already have two of the best drivers in the team, but if they are really desperate for a change, it should be Leclerc that got the push.

  6. So many potentially exciting driver moves next season. But I just can’t shake the feeling we’ll end up with the most boring version something like Sainz to Mercedes and everything else stays the same. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    1. I think it’s clear to everyone in the paddock that sainz is an upgrade over perez, so I think red bull would only replace perez with him if they feel the cars are gonna be close next year and verstappen won’t be able to win the constructor’s title by himself any more, sort of the reason why merc replaced bottas with russell.

    2. I agree 100%. Have a feeling we’ll somehow get the most boring of moves/decisions despite it being seemingly hard to have a boring result from this situation.

  7. To put things simply, if sainz weren’t underrated, he wouldn’t have been considered to be replaced by hamilton.

    It’s the same thing as when perez was replaced by vettel: it was clear perez was performing better than vettel at the time, obviously hamilton is doing a bit better than vettel was at the time, but I keep seeing drivers say sainz is not underrated when it doesn’t match with reality and with the market moves that happened.

  8. From memory, it’s happened before when a driver wins the WDC and finds himself without a seat for the following season. There’s not a huge selection for Sainz, and certainly not a great selection of good teams unless Mercedes can actually do something positive to their car.

    I very much doubt RBR would have any interest, and the remaining top teams other than Mercedes have pretty settled lineups. I guess the question would be would it be better to spend a year on the sidelines compared to getting in a non competitive car in 2025.

    1. Damon Hill would be the most recent example. By the time he won the WDC in October 1996, Williams had already let him know his services wouldn’t be required for the following season.

      Jenson Button left Brawn GP after winning the 2009 WDC, but was on the verge of signing for McLaren anyway (Brawn terminated his contract after he did a McLaren factory tour).

  9. I’ve said before that I think Mercedes would be mad not to sign up Sainz. It would not be the most exciting line up for them but can they do better? If they go for a rookie then they really would be ruling themselves out of winning much for a couple of years. Unless they happen to develop the best 2026 car. They may be happy to gamble though.

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