Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Sainz should join other “big names” heading to Williams – Vowles

Formula 1

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Williams team principal James Vowles says they are the best choice for Carlos Sainz Jnr as the Ferrari driver considers his options for 2025.

Sainz was left without a drive for next year when Ferrari announced Lewis Hamilton will join them alongside Charles Leclerc.

The prospects of Sainz joining a top team have diminished as Red Bull have re-signed Sergio Perez and Mercedes are widely expected to promote Andrea Kimi Antonelli from Formula 2. Sauber, which will become Audi’s works team in 2026, and Williams are thought to be Sainz’s likeliest destinations.

Williams have a “shortlist [of] two drivers” who might partner Alexander Albon next year,” said Vowles. “Simple as that.”

“I think we’ve been very open on discussing who’s very much the top of our list,” he told the official F1 channel. “But it’s now determining what we can do to find a match with, in this circumstance, Carlos.”

Vowles heaped praise on Sainz, who last year was the only driver to beat the Red Bull pair to win a race. “I think he’s an incredible driver,” he said. “He’s a race-winning driver. He’s the one that last year, above all others, was able to find his way through.

“But it’s his choice as to where he wants to go to. I mean, it’s been highlighted that there’s one or two options for him, and we’re very much one of those two.

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“I personally think we’re the right option. It’s a good match made together. But the choice remains, of course, his.”

Williams moved up from last in the championship to seventh last year, which was Vowles’ first in charge of the team. The team is investing heavily in its facilities and staff, and hired the hugely experienced designer Pat Fry from Alpine last year.

Vowles said they will announce the signing of more well-known names to its technical division in the near future. “We’re not yet, unfortunately, in a position to announce these,” he said.

“But when we do start to announce who we have signed, they’re going to see big names recognised by a lot of people across our technical organisation, across our aerodynamic organisation. And not small numbers: I think we’re at about 20, 30 people now that have huge accolades in the sport and will contribute towards the success of Williams.

“We’re in a good position. It’s going the way I’d like it to. It’s always slower than you’d like it to. You’d like people through the door tomorrow. But what I’ve done is made sure we wait for the right people and then sign them and bring them in.”

View the current list of 2025 F1 drivers and teams

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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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17 comments on “Sainz should join other “big names” heading to Williams – Vowles”

  1. Who is the other driver? Bottas?

    1. Without a doubt.

  2. Nothing would make me happier than to see Williams back at the front of the grid fighting with McLaren and Ferrari

    1. Edsel Ramirez
      8th June 2024, 12:31


      Reply moderated
  3. Sainz is doomed either way.

    1. Sainz is very unlucky with the timing of everything. Ferrari chose to cash (marketing and company value) on Lewis’ legacy before he might decide to stop. Aston Martin has Lance who just isn’t bad enough to not let him race when you have your own team in the family. RedBull have Perez who is a willing nr 2, keeping the team dynamics at peace (the combination between Verstappen and Sainz at Torro Rosso was not like that). All to some degree decisions that are maybe less optimal for the audience (apart from seeing Lewis at Ferrari which is an exciting prospect) but have understandable elements in them. Mercedes seems to choose for upcoming talent, which imho would be less understandable if you have the option on a Sainz level driver. But maybe they also relate to the Torro Rosso (Lewis/Rosberg) situation and feel the team dynamic is best served by a Rookie next to the then clear nr 1 (Russell), the position that would immediately be open for debate when attracting Sainz. All other teams seem an undeserving step back for Sainz. Would be nice, in that scenario of him going to a ‘back marker’ team, they get the upcoming regulatory change right and he can compete at the front of the field again.

  4. Is Vowles hinting that Adrian Newey might be going there?

    1. The Dolphins
      8th June 2024, 13:26

      I believe he’s making it vague to imply that, however reports have said if Newey was to join Ferrari existing top designers in the team are planning on leaving the team. It’s more likely James is referring to one of those Ferrari crew.

  5. It’s quite odd to see that Sainz is going to drop from the #2 team on the grid all the way down to #10 with apparently nobody in between wanting or being able to replace one of the old and tired midfielders with a clear an obvious upgrade.

    Heck, even the #1 team would be better off with Sainz in their second car.

    1. MichaelN, in the case of Red Bull, Marko has said that part of the reason for keeping Perez is Red Bull’s commercial interests. According to Marko, they shift far more merchandise and branded products with Perez’s name on them in Central and Southern America than Verstappen branded merchandise, and Perez’s commercial value in those markets was apparently a significant argument in his favour for keeping him on. There are potentially other, more personal, reasons that Sainz is not wanted too – there were rumours that Marko did not get on well with Sainz Sr.

      With regards to teams further down the grid, Sainz has supposedly been talking with Alpine, Haas, Sauber/Audi and Williams with varying degrees of seriousness, but in all of those cases, he’s up against several other drivers that are also supposedly floating around the market. There has been talk that Sauber/Audi have been courting Sainz for quite some time; as for the other outfits, Haas and Alpine may be possibilities, but given the concerns raised about the management and operations of both of those teams, they might not be as attractive to Sainz as Sainz may be to them.

      1. An Sionnach
        8th June 2024, 16:11

        Would be good to see him get a drive worthy of his talents. Justice would be done if his destination team could produce a top car within the next two to three years, whether it’s Newey-penned or not.

        I can understand Perez at Red Bull. He seems to be very much part of the team now and has done a lot for them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s no cap on the spend for engines? Red Bull could do with all the money they can get. The engine plan makes sense if they want to have full control of their destiny, but they could very easily produce an engine much worse than the early Renault hybrid.

        I don’t think Stroll is a blocker for Sainz at Aston. I like seeing Alonso at his best, but I expect that he would veto drivers who can take significant points off him. He won’t be able to block Stroll or Tsunoda, though. If they were both to retire, I would expect their replacement to be even less capable.

        1. An Sionnach, you are wrong about engine development.

          Since 2023, the FIA has imposed budgetary limits on engine manufacturers (there is a small additional allowance for capital expenditure for new engine manufacturers), as well as also imposing restrictions on the amount of dyno testing that can be undertaken and on the types of dyno that can be used.

  6. I love the transparency from JV. I guess this also suggests that some rumors claiming Sainz has already signed for Williams are untrue. I would love to see Sainz/Albon bringing that team back to the top. It would be a fantastic driver line up.

    1. “I would love to see Sainz/Albon bringing that team back to the top.”

      That’s a very odd statement. Drivers don’t bring teams to the top, engineers do. What Sainz and Albon could do at Williams is waste their talents away, just like dozens of drivers in weak teams in the past and present. Albon is already doing it.

      1. I understand that drivers don’t make cars. But the motivation and drive within a team that has two top drivers, hefty ambition, clear leadership and financial backing will be immense. The difference two top drivers can make to a team is still significant, in terms of driver feedback, testing, and just pushing the team to deliver the best possible car.

        1. Nah, that’s what fans like to tell themselves. McLaren had the double world champion Alonso for how long? A decade? It didn’t make them build a competetive car.
          Now you’re saying a random Sainz will suddenly cast a magic spell on Williams… oh stop.

          Reply moderated
  7. As quali showed today, Williams is a much more preferable team to go to for the next 2-3 seasons and Sainz is understandably hopeful that a seat will open up at a top team in that time with some older drivers on the grid and Checo Q1 at RBR.

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