Carlos Sainz could be waiting for Red Bull Racing to make 2025 seat decision

    Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

    Impending free agent Carlos Sainz could be waiting for Red Bull Racing before making a decision on which team he will be driving for in 2025.

    Silly season is in full effect in Formula 1, far earlier than usual, with Carlos Sainz Jr the hottest name on the market for teams to consider for the 2025 season.

    The Spaniard, 29, is without a seat next season after the stunning revelation that seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton will be departing Mercedes-AMG after 11 years to join Ferrari.

    In response to losing his seat, Sainz has started the season in blistering form. He has finished on the podium in all three races he has started, even claiming his third career race victory in the Australian Grand Prix.

    Sainz has also come back from appendix surgery which saw him miss the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, going on to have success despite the short turnaround from his surgery to the next race in Australia - making his successes this season even more impressive.

    Sainz has finished third in both Bahrain and Japan, sitting behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez of Red Bull Racing - a team that he could potentially join next season.

    Pérez's contract is set to expire after this season, and all signs point to him extending his contract with the team if he continues to be the perfect supporting act for reigning three-time World Champion Verstappen, with the Mexican finishing second in all three races that his teammate has won this year.

    A damaged floor prevented Pérez from finishing better than fifth in Australia, so his early form has been extremely positive for the team - putting them firmly atop the Constructors' Standings.

    However, there are still questions over whether or not the team will retain Pérez if they could potentially upgrade with the likes of Sainz, who is a few years younger and hitting his peak in the sport.

    Sainz is no stranger to Red Bull, who had him in their youth setup in 2015 and 2016, seeing him race for the then-named Toro Rosso alongside Verstappen before he eventually pushed through a move to Renault.

    The idea of having Sainz and Verstappen as a driver lineup would have any team salivating at the possibility, and it has been stated outright that Sainz and his management are talking to every team on the grid with a vacancy, including Red Bull.

    A recent interview with Sky Sports F1 ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix may even give Red Bull some belief that Sainz would prefer a move to the Milton Keynes team, with the veteran driver stating that he is willing to wait for an opportunity.

    He commented: "It all depends on the compromises or the offers and what everyone offers. There's very good options out there, which makes me still smile and be positive about my future.

    "At the same time, I know some of those options don't fully depend on me. It may depend on some people taking decisions, which means I need to wait in a way and keep doing what I'm doing and things will hopefully be decided sooner rather than later. If it's later and it's still good, I will be happy to wait."

    He added: "Regarding 2025, for sure, my opinion is, with the level I'm showing and I'm driving now, obviously being in a competitive car would be very appealing for me. But again, it doesn't depend on me and I need to keep waiting."

    This could suggest that Sainz is waiting for Red Bull to make a decision on whether or not they will keep Pérez around for another year, with Sainz also largely linked with a move to the incoming Audi team, who will take over the Sauber team in 2026.

    The new regulations could see the grid reset in terms of competitiveness, however, specifically mentioning that having a competitive car in 2025, which Sauber is not expected to have compared to the dominant Red Bull, does potentially give an insight into Sainz's thoughts on the situation.

    If he secures a return to the team that helped him break into Formula 1 in the first place, it would see him form easily the best driver lineup on the grid, and virtually guarantee Red Bull a title in 2025, while also giving them a lineup that should remain competitive regardless of the new regulations in 2026 and beyond.

    For now, it's speculation, but reading between the lines of Sainz's own words does seem to hint that he could have his preferred destination and it's just a waiting game for him now.

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