Is Sainz leaving Ferrari? Contract talks turn sour

Carlos Sainz’s future with Ferrari is in doubt as contract negotiations for extending his stay beyond 2024 have reportedly hit a snag. Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport suggests that the talks have become challenging, possibly leading to the Spaniard’s departure from Maranello at the end of the year.

The situation has evolved following Ferrari’s recent move to secure Charles Leclerc with a long-term, lucrative deal, indicating a shift from the team’s previous policy of equal status for its drivers. Fulvio Solms of Corriere dello Sport notes, “Sainz is ambitious. He wants to win a world title. But it’s this very tenacity that has become a problem at a Ferrari that is Leclerc-centric.”

Amidst these developments, Sainz and his father, also named Carlos, have hinted at a potential move to Sauber-Audi. Ferrari, meanwhile, has viable options for a new second driver, including rising British stars Oliver Bearman and Alex Albon.

Russian F1 commentator Alexey Popov adds insight into Sainz’s predicament: “Carlos is being persuaded to sign a contract for one season (2025) before this season begins.” It is also rumoured that Albon might be eyeing a future spot at Mercedes, especially considering Lewis Hamilton’s potential retirement after 2025 and George Russell’s uncertain future as a Mercedes frontrunner.

Popov observes, “In his first season at Mercedes, everything was great for George. In the second year he sank while Lewis showed who’s boss.” This uncertainty at Mercedes contrasts with the long-term contract stability seen at other top teams like Red Bull, McLaren, and Ferrari, raising questions about Russell’s long-term suitability for the team.

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