Sainz shocker: Newspapers eye 1 or 2 year Mercedes deal

Insider sources have informed several top Italian media outlets that Carlos Sainz is expected to join Mercedes in the 2025 racing season. This comes after persistent speculations have nearly solidified into confirmed reports, according to Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere della Sera, and La Repubblica.

Observers are split on the nature of Sainz’s potential contract with Mercedes. Some sources hint at a short-term deal, potentially for just one season. This temporary arrangement could pave the way for Toto Wolff’s mentee, Kimi Antonelli, to acquire some experience at the Mercedes-affiliated Williams team in the upcoming year.

Alternatively, there is speculation about a more enduring two-year agreement covering both the 2025 and 2026 seasons, possibly with additional flexible terms extending beyond the initial period.

However, the efficacy of this strategic move for Sainz, who is currently performing well at Ferrari who are replacing him with Lewis Hamilton, remains under debate. “Mercedes is a long way off the pace,” former Red Bull racer Robert Doornbos commented on Ziggo Sport. “Even (Fernando) Alonso indicated that he didn’t want to sign there.”

Despite these concerns, La Gazzetta dello Sport seems certain that the Sainz-to-Mercedes transfer is imminent, with Sauber, under Audi’s new ownership, being the only notable alternative that was considered but subsequently passed over.

The Italian publication has also speculated that Audi may now initiate negotiations with the unhappy Alpine driving pair, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon. Meanwhile, according to journalist Luigi Perna, the young protege Antonelli is expected to start racing for Williams at just 18 years old, as Sergio Perez continues his tenure with Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

While Sainz will definitely remain in red throughout the 2024 season, where his performance has been notably superior to teammate Charles Leclerc, Bild newspaper from Germany suggests that any formal announcement about the Mercedes move will not be made “in the next few weeks.”

Reflecting on Sainz’s recent performances, former F1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi observed, “I have to say that from last year, in the second part of the season, I saw incredible growth from Carlos.” Liuzzi added, “I didn’t expect to see Leclerc under such pressure and in difficulty this year,” but noted that “he is suffering from Sainz’s performances.”

Looking ahead, Liuzzi expressed hopes for Leclerc’s future alongside a new teammate, stating, “Next year, he (Leclerc) will have Lewis Hamilton next to him, so I hope Charles can find himself again. He will be fundamental for the balance of the reds.”

GMM

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