Vowles convinced Williams is ‘the right option’ for Sainz

© XPB 

James Vowles says his team’s selection process for Williams’ vacant seat for 2025 has narrowed down to just two candidates, with the Briton publicly citing Carlos Sainz as his top pick.

Alex Albon's future with Williams is secure after signing a multi-year contract extension that will take the Anglo-Thai racer through F1’s 2026 regulation changes.

Logan Sargeant, currently filling the second seat at Williams, faces an uphill battle to retain his position, and Vowles’ public courting of Sainz only magnifies that fact.

“The shortlist is two drivers, simple as that, of which I think we’ve been very open on discussing who’s very much at the top of our list,” Vowles told the media in Montreal on Friday.

“But it’s now determining what we can do to find a match with, in this circumstance, Carlos, who I think is an incredible driver.

“He’s a race-winning driver – he’s 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.”

Following Red Bull's decision to extend Sergio Perez's tenure with the team for an additional two seasons, Sainz's options for 2025 seem limited to Audi-Sauber and Williams.

The Hinwil squad’s takeover by the German manufacturer presents a potentially exciting future for a driver seeking a long-term project.

However, Vowles is clearly advocating for Sainz to join his team, expressing his strong belief that Williams would be the best fit for the Spanish charger and three-time Grand Prix winner.

“It’s been highlighted that there’s one or two options for him and we’re very much one of those two,” said the Williams chief.

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

It’s unclear if Sargeant is the second driver on Vowles’ two-driver list or if a third candidate has been earmarked by the team. But based on his comments, the Williams team principal seems to suggest that the American remains a viable option for the Grove-based outfit, if he can raise his game.

“I think there's no doubt [that he has taken a step forwards], actually very similar to Oscar [Piastri], second year of running, and you are now seeing the confidence start to build as a result of it, and there is performance there,” Vowles explained.

“We also haven't had the cars in the same spec for a period of time. Some of that's still due to the earlier damage that we're building up to, some of that is because we pulled forward upgrades, and there was simply not enough to put across two cars.

“He is continuously evolving as an individual, as I hope he would be in that circumstance. Is he where I need him to be target-wise? And that's the big question of things.

“We need more from him, really, to be able to save his seat in that sort of circumstance.”

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter