Sainz reportedly no longer an option for Mercedes for 2025

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Outgoing Ferrari charger Carlos Sainz is reportedly no longer an option for Mercedes for 2025 due to the team’s preferred timescale.

While Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has publicly stated his desire to attract Max Verstappen to the Brackley squad, Red Bull’s top brass has repeatedly firmly dismissed the probability of a sensational move by the Dutchman to the Silver Arrows outfit.

Sainz – a three-time winner in F1 – would appear as the next best alternative to fill Lewis Hamilton’s vacant seat at Mercedes alongside George Russell.

But Wolff is willing to wait before making a final call on his team’s 2025 line-up, with the Austrian also closely monitoring the performances in F2 of its highly-rated protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

“I think Carlos has his place in Formula 1, he is a Ferrari race winner in the last two years and someone with huge experience,” Wolff said after last weekend’s race at Imola.

“I think what I said is I’m prepared to compromise in certain decisions and to wait long how the situation ends out over the summer and into autumn.

“In George, we have a great driver that is with us and fantastic and then let’s see who is going to be his team-mate. But we don’t need to take this decision now.”

Antonelli is currently undergoing a private F1 test programme as part of his development with Mercedes. But should a promotion to the elite prove untimely for the teenager, the German outfit would need a one-year stopgap solution for 2025.

But that’s an option that is understandably not of interest to Sainz, who is also looking for clarity on his F1 future sooner rather than later as Sky Sports’ reporter Craig Slater explained.

“Why isn’t Carlos Sainz going to Mercedes? That conversation has already been had as I understand it and the timescale Mercedes are working towards in terms of making their decision doesn’t fit with what Carlos Sainz wants himself,” Slater explained.

“He wants his contract situation sorted in the next few weeks rather than months.”

Slater reckons that Mercedes will ultimately end up promoting Antonelli to a race seat with the team in 2025.

“If Mercedes cannot get Verstappen, my understanding is Kimi Antonelli will have that seat next year,” he added. “That means you can discount some of the other names mentioned.

“Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon, even Valtteri Bottas. Kimi Antonelli only turns 18 in August but might he even be in F1 this year? There’s that potential.

“However, he is in a position if Mercedes cannot get Verstappen to be driving alongside George Russell in 2025. That one probably not decided until August or September.”

Based on Slater’s report, Sainz’s only viable options for next year appear to be limited to Audi, which has extended a firm offer to the Spaniard, and Red Bull, where Sergio Perez’s fate remains up in the air.

But, for what it's worth, there have also been a few whispers in the paddock mentioning a connection between Sainz and Williams.

Speaking in Monaco on Thursday, Sainz remained tight-lipped on his current situation and on any prospective talks.

However, with Audi reportedly giving the 29-year-old a hard deadline to make up his mind, Sainz is keeping his own timetable open.

“I haven't made my mind up yet,” he said. “I don't know where I'm going to be racing next year. I don't have set deadlines and I don't know how to do deadlines.

“But I can tell you that, with such an important decision in this stage of my career, that I want to have all the other cards on the table to take the right one and think about it carefully.

“I'm about to be 30 this year and the next project is a project that I really want to make it work and see how it goes. So I'm going to give myself as much time as I need.”

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