Where Red Bull F1 snub leaves Sainz for 2025

Sergio Perez's new contract means Red Bull have snubbed Carlos Sainz and left him assessing midfield options for his post-Ferrari future – with a decision likely to be made quickly.

Since finding out he would lose his Ferrari seat at the end of 2024 to Lewis Hamilton, Sainz has been waiting to see whether the runaway driver market would swing in his favour, especially at Red Bull, given rumors of Max Verstappen possibly exiting and leaving. Recent contraction in the form of Perez.

Although it has recently become clear that Verstappen will stay put, until at least 2025, it was hoped that Perez's decline over the last three races would help Red Bull realize that it needed a better teammate for the world champion.

Unfortunately for Sainz, the competitive image does not outweigh Red Bull's concerns about the tensions that existed when he was team-mate with Verstappen at Toro Rosso.

Regardless of whether Sainz and Verstappen are fine, Red Bull do not want their fathers to be in the same place again, as that is where Toro Rosso's main problems stemmed from.

It also doesn't help that Sainz is quick enough to make life a bit uncomfortable for Verstappen as well – something Red Bull is unlikely to admit publicly.

The 'no' from Red Bull comes with Mercedes no longer being a realistic option as well.

Mercedes are very keen to promote their young F2 protégé Kimi Antonelli straight into the works team next season, and with Antonelli already under contract, Mercedes need not confirm this decision has been made.

That means potentially waiting until deeper into the year to commit – and since it's very likely that all of Sainz's back-up options will be gone by then, he's not willing to wait that long to see if Mercedes have a place for him, especially since it will be the case. He will likely only want or need him on a short-term deal.

So, with Red Bull picked against Sainz, and Mercedes effectively out of the equation, the gamble has not paid off, and now Sainz needs to choose between two options that have major downsides for his F1 future, as a step back now seems inevitable.

Sainz indicated in Monaco that things could move very quickly once he knows what he wants, which is likely a sign of good contract offers from both Audi and Williams.

They are the two teams that it is understood Sainz will choose between, with it being as simple as waiting to find out 100% that Red Bull were off the table for sitting down and considering both options properly.

The Sauber/Audi argument is clear. It will become a works team, Audi has been successful everywhere it has competed in motorsport, and Sainz could secure a long-term, well-paid contract with one of the major manufacturers. This may also lead to other interesting opportunities in the future.

However, the fact that the team is a Sauber team is not perfect, and they performed so poorly on the Monaco Grand Prix weekend that they are the only team without points in 2024 after Williams and Alex Albon finished ninth – a result Just in time for this team to pitch. To back up its convincing offers to the Sainz camp with some targeted actions on the right track.

There is enough uncertainty about Audi as a racing team and new engine manufacturer to make the argument not very convincing, so Williams is serious about the picture.

It's not just about recent results and short-term forecasts. Sainz needs to decide which option is best for him and his intentions in the medium term.

Now the Perez deal is 100% done, we expect Sainz to make a quick decision – barring any late developments in an already ridiculously exciting season.


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