Where next for Carlos Sainz after he was replaced at Ferrari by Lewis Hamilton?

Carlos Sainz will now be up for grabs for the F1 2025 season
(L to R): Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1
(L to R): Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes…

With Carlos Sainz out of Ferrari following Lewis Hamilton’s sensational move, what options are on the table for the Spaniard in 2025?


Mercedes are the obvious choice for Sainz given they have an open seat following Hamilton's shock departure. 

They will be needing a Hamilton replacement, and given Sainz is probably going to be the best driver available on the F1 driver market for 2025, he’s the ideal candidate. 

Max Verstappen is locked in at Red Bull, as is Charles Leclerc at Ferrari, while Lando Norris has recently signed a multi-year deal with McLaren.

Other than perhaps Fernando Alonso, Sainz - in raw performance terms - is probably the best bet.

It’s easy to forget that Sainz out-scored Charles Leclerc in his first year with the team - and was only narrowly beaten in the 2023 standings.

Sainz is incredibly fast, reliable, and would be a strong option alongside George Russell.

Red Bull

Another top team which might need a new driver for 2025 is Red Bull as Sergio Perez’s F1 contract runs out at the end of this year.

Perez’s form in 2023 was generally poor, leading many to question his future with the team.

Given Ferrari will have a blockbuster line-up of Leclerc and Hamilton, Red Bull will be keen to upgrade Perez.

While it’s unlikely Sainz will be able to be a serious match for Verstappen across a season, there’s no doubt he would pose a bigger threat than Perez.

One caveat though is that it’s widely known that there was a “toxic” atmosphere at Toro Rosso when Verstappen and Sainz were teammates last time.

However, if you’re in Christian Horner’s shoes, and the options are Sainz, Perez or Daniel Ricciardo, then the choice is very simple.


The Sainz to Audi links have been constant since the German manufacturer announced their takeover of the Swiss-outfit. 

Audi will enter F1 at the start of 2026, becoming a full-fledged works outfit.

Currently, it’s unlikely Sainz would be willing to join Sauber (Stake) given their uncompetitiveness. 

No doubt, joining Audi would be a huge risk, but he’d certainly be the number one driver at the team - something he wouldn’t have at Mercedes or Red Bull.

His father, Carlos Sainz, has a close association with Audi and recently won the Dakar Rally driving for them.

A solid option if one of the two top teams decide to look elsewhere.

Aston Martin

It’s difficult to know whether Aston Martin will be involved in ‘silly season’ ahead of 2025.

Alonso seems very comfortable with the team, while Lance Stroll’s situation comes down to whether he’s motivated to stay in F1 - and if his father, Lawrence, wants him to drive still.

If Aston Martin endure an uncompetitive year and Alonso feels that it’s the right time to end his F1 career, a vacancy could open for Sainz.

Similarly, if Stroll’s form is similarly poor to 2023, he might decide enough is enough and move into other motorsport disciplines.

Less likely than the aforementioned three teams but certainly possible.


Given it’s highly likely that Mercedes will consider Alex Albon as a potential replacement for Hamilton if they decide against going for Sainz, Williams could be on the cards for Sainz.

While it would be a substantial step back, Williams are on the rise again after they finished seventh in the 2023 F1 constructors’ championship.

Under James Vowles, there finally seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for the Grove outfit.

Admittedly, a switch to Williams for a driver of Sainz’s calibre would be underwhelming, and probably a last resort.

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