Sainz 2025 decision holding up driver market

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Carlos Sainz‘s decision over his future continues to delay the rest of the movement in Formula One’s driver market.

Sainz, set to be replaced at Ferrari by Lewis Hamilton next year, is weighing up offers from Williams and Audi, who are taking over the Sauber project in 2026.

“Carlos is the cork in the bottle,” Haas driver Kevin Magnussen said on Thursday ahead of Sainz’s home race in Spain.

“I think a lot of guys are waiting for him to make a move and then eventually all the other pieces of the puzzle will fall. That’s the truth of that.”

A source close to Sainz has told ESPN he is still not close to a decision. Williams appeared to have emerged as Sainz’s favoured option a few weeks ago, with doubts growing in the paddock about how competitive Audi can be with its new entry, but he still is not close to a decision.

“That’s the thing. I’m still not sure one way or another,” the Ferrari driver said.

“It’s still something that I’m discussing with my team and brainstorming and obviously I need a couple of days back at home and before the Spanish Grand Prix.

“I’ve been at home, but you don’t have you head in the future, you have your head in the Spanish Grand Prix.

“It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks after Canada for me so I haven’t had time to really sit down and make a decision. And this is what I will target in the next few weeks.”

Sainz has created a logjam for other teams looking to fill space for 2025. Should Sainz pick Williams over Audi, the German manufacturer will have to look elsewhere.

Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg has already signed for one of the seats but Audi is known to want an established race winner in the other seat.

Outgoing Alpine driver Esteban Ocon might fit the bill, as would teammate Pierre Gasly, who is still yet to confirm his future beyond 2025.

Magnussen is another driver facing an uncertain future, with his Haas team expected to sign Ferrari junior Oliver Bearman for 2025.

Sources have told ESPN that Ocon is Haas boss Ayao Komatsu’s first choice for the other seat, but that hinges on how the pieces fall with Sainz and whether Audi enters the race for the Frenchman’s signature.

Team owner Gene Haas is understood to be determined to land an established driver like Ocon.

Sainz himself had been waiting on Red Bull to make a decision, but the world champions have re-signed Sergio Pérez for 2025, with an option for 2026 as well.

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda had looked like a good candidate for the driver market, but he has committed to another season with Red Bull’s junior team.

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