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Red Bull’s rejection of Carlos Sainz might not be the worst twist for him. An ambitious Williams is eagerly waiting for him. Team Principal James Vowles has already announced that their “number 1 target” to replace Logan Sargeant in 2025 is the Ferrari driver. But Audi (currently Sauber) has been even more vocal about signing Sainz as their lead driver. With two entirely different paths as options, which one will the Spaniard choose?

Williams, one of F1’s most successful teams, has been reduced to a back-marker in recent years. But James Vowles’ ambitions, backed by a rich know-how of F1’s operations from his Mercedes days, ensure a relatively brighter future for the team. Similarly, Audi, an automotive giant, promises to hit the ground running when they enter F1 in 2026. The German manufacturers have even offered Sainz a “lucrative”, 3-year deal. But their worth is still unproven while Williams has a maestro driver in Alex Albon and proven progress.

“I really like the idea of Carlos and Alex partnering up”, F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham said on the F1 Nation podcast. “They’d work really well together.” She also elaborated on how Vowles’ presence will make it a winning combination. “James Vowles has obviously worked with some incredible drivers at Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton being one of them. He’s an astute guy,” Pinkham added. “I think, perhaps, that’s a big draw for Carlos, knowing about James’ big intentions and ambitions for the team. I believe him. I’d buy into his dream, his long-term goal for Williams.”

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Though Vowles’ words are very assuring for the legacy team, their performance has declined this year. This could be one of the reasons that led Sainz not to immediately confirm his future with them.

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Carlos Sainz leaves Williams hanging with an indefinite delay

The Canadian GP was full of revelations for the 2025 driver market. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff announced that 17-year-old prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli would be their future, ruling Carlos Sainz out of the race. Soon after, James Vowles showed his heightened interest in signing the Spaniard. Though Sainz’s reply was polite, it lacked a concrete conclusion.

“I appreciate James’ interest and kind words that he has always towards me,” the Ferrari driver said in Canada. “The same can be said about how I feel towards him and his team. But the reality is that I haven’t made up my mind yet about where I’m going to go next year because. As I said in the press conference the other day, I’m too focused. Right now, my head is too focused on every weekend that we’re doing.”

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via Reuters

Despite initially having the driver market in the palm of his hand, the delay in decision-making is reducing Sainz’s prospects for 2025. But because Vowles has declared him as Williams’ top target, even if Audi bows out, the Ferrari driver will have something to fall back on.