Carlos Sainz targets 2026 Red Bull - after one-year stopgap at F1 rival

Carlos Sainz seeking a one-year deal with a view to the '26 Red Bull

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, Qualifying
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia…

Carlos Sainz has got his eye on joining Red Bull in 2026, but must find another move first.

The Ferrari driver will lose his seat next year to Lewis Hamilton and is in talks with multiple teams.

But Gazzetta report that his No 1 priority is to land the Red Bull drive in ‘26.

Red Bull look likely to reward Sergio Perez, whose current contract expires this year, with an additional one-year deal to cover 2025 to stay alongside Max Verstappen.

But in 2026, when the new F1 regulations kick in, the car could become available again and Sainz wants to be well-placed.

Sainz has negotiated with Mercedes for 2025 but Toto Wolff has said he prefers to wait longer before committing to Lewis Hamilton’s replacement.

That leaves Sainz with two options for next year.

Long-term admirers Audi want him to join, while they are still running as Sauber.

Audi have a relationship with him through his father, who won the Dakar Rally in their car.

But the Sauber is clearly not yet a front-running car, and Audi want Sainz to commit to a long-term deal to front their emerging F1 project.

Williams pushed to the front of the queue for Sainz’s signature last weekend in Monaco.

Williams could offer Sainz a one-year deal with an option for another, the Italian newspaper reports.

This allows Sainz the flexibility to either stay put, or move on again in 2026 when he wants the Red Bull seat.

Williams’ alliance with the Mercedes power unit - which is being rumoured within the F1 paddock as the best of its kind for the new 2026 rules - is in their favour.

“The decision is near,” Gazzetta insist about Sainz’s next move.

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