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Sainz's uncertain future: Mercedes move now in doubt for 2025

Sainz's uncertain future: Mercedes move now in doubt for 2025
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The speculated transfer of Carlos Sainz to Mercedes for the 2025 season remains unconfirmed.

The speculated transfer of Carlos Sainz to Mercedes for the 2025 season remains unconfirmed.

Toto Wolff, yet to make an official announcement, is searching for a replacement for Lewis Hamilton, who is set to join Ferrari next year.

At this juncture, it appears that Max Verstappen, amidst an ongoing turmoil within Red Bull, is the primary candidate Wolff is patiently considering.

However, conversations with Carlos Sainz, who will soon part ways with Ferrari, have reportedly occurred and even entered an advanced stage.

As of this Tuesday, Sainz, who is currently performing well at age 29, mentioned on F1's official site that his future "also depends on other people, on other teams - what they choose to go for."

Meanwhile, Toto Wolff's young protégé, Kimi Antonelli, aged 17, has begun a comprehensive testing regimen in older Mercedes F1 vehicles, adhering to strict regulations.

A new article in the Kolner Express suggests that Wolff views Esteban Ocon, another driver he manages, as a fallback option should Verstappen remain with Red Bull. Wolff stated, "We could take a young driver and give him the opportunity to immediately fight for victories without much pressure. Or put an experienced driver in the car who can help us get out of our current situation."

The rumor mill is also buzzing with news that Sainz could join Audi's Sauber team for a long-term contract, with Nico Hulkenberg also considered a likely choice.

According to veteran F1 journalist Roger Benoit in Blick, Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl is aware that "new drivers are needed." Benoit also noted, "(Valtteri) Bottas and (Guanyu) Zhou are a thing of the past. New motivation is needed in the cockpit now. Even the most loyal Sauber fans agree on this."

Williams emerges as another possible destination for Sainz, although he himself has expressed concerns about staying competitive, saying, "I don't want to be stuck in the midfield or even further back in 2025."

Thus, Mercedes remains a potentially optimal choice for Sainz in 2025, though reports indicate Wolff may only extend a one-year contract initially, with an option to renew for the upcoming new era in 2026.

Ralf Schumacher, a former F1 driver, spoke to Sky Deutschland about the challenges facing Wolff, stating, "His client teams, especially McLaren, are beating him, and that is the worst thing that can happen to him." He added, "Their number 1 driver is leaving them because he no longer believes in the team. That's a big problem for Toto. He has to make sure that he remains attractive as a team so that the really good drivers want to go there."

Schumacher further remarked on the state of Mercedes, saying, "Mercedes is in a mess right now," and "You can see it in Toto's reactions in the media. I admire him and I like him, but what is going on there now is a disaster."

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Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr celebrates victory at the Australian Grand Prix on March 24, 2024.
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