Formula 1 Racing

Door closing for Sainz at Williams as it reopens talk with other F1 drivers

Alex Albon, Williams FW46, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz’s Formula 1 options for 2025 could be narrowing, with teams that have been holding on for him to make a call on his future now assessing other routes.

The Spaniard has been weighing up for weeks clear offers he has from both the Sauber/Audi team and Williams for next season.

But as the Ferrari driver appeared to be on the verge of making a final decision around the time of the Spanish Grand Prix, his situation became more complicated as Alpine ramped up efforts it has been making to get him on board.

That comes in the wake of the arrival of former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore as an advisor to Renault CEO Luca de Meo, with him clear that Alpine should get on the front foot with its driver signings for the next couple of years so it can concentrate fully on its car.

The situation prompted a pause in Sainz deciding what he wants to do, and it is understood that he asked for a further delay from Williams in making a call on his 2025 plans so he could weigh up what Alpine could offer.

The French manufacturer’s offer is especially intriguing as it looks increasingly likely it will abandon its works engine programme and instead switch to a customer deal for 2026.

While the rules would guarantee Alpine an engine supply, with Honda having a duty to provide customer power units if required, it is understood that Briatore has set his sights on securing a deal with Mercedes – although nothing is decided on that front yet.

Alex Albon, Williams FW46, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The prospect for Sainz of driving for a manufacturer outfit with potentially a super-competitive engine like Mercedes is something that has its attractions, which is why Sainz has further delayed making a call on the offers he has at Williams and Audi.

But the latest indecision, with no guarantee about what Sainz will do, is understood to have left both teams feeling that they cannot afford to wait much longer before pursuing other options so they do not end up left high and dry.

While Sauber/Audi is willing to hold fire for a little bit longer, it is understood that Williams has decided that it needs to get a team-mate for Alex Albon sorted as soon as possible – so it has re-opened negotiations with others.

The team wants a race-winner on board for next season, with it understood that its prime targets are Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon.

Both drivers are well known to Williams team principal…

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