F1 Rumor: Carlos Sainz Courted By Mercedes With Contract that Leaves Future Open

Nov 15, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Scuderia Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. of Spain during media
Nov 15, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Scuderia Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. of Spain during media / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As the Formula 1 paddock readies itself for the upcoming Grand Prix in China, the driver market is humming with speculation around Carlos Sainz's future. Recent reports suggest that Mercedes is keen on securing the services of the Spaniard, albeit with a more unconventional contract structure. This move comes amidst the team's strategic considerations for its future lineup, leaving the racing community on high alert.

Mercedes is reportedly discussing a 1+1 deal with Sainz, offering a degree of flexibility to adjust their driver lineup based on performance and evolving team relationships. This format, while not entirely uncommon in Formula 1, underscores a cautious approach from the Silver Arrows, suggesting they are keeping their options open for the coming seasons.

According to RacingNews365, there are conversations happening between the Brackley team and the Ferrari driver, But as of yet, no contracts have been signed and they won't be ahead of the upcoming race in Shanghai.

This negotiation phase is critical for Sainz, who is currently being considered by several top-tier teams, including Red Bull and the newly entering Audi team which has just bought out Sauber. The interest in Sainz is a testament to his skills and marketability in the sport, as teams look to bolster their lineups with a driver who not only has sheer pace, but also the ability to think and strategize throughout a race as the Spaniard has proven he can do.

The strategic implications of a potential 1+1 agreement extend beyond merely evaluating Sainz's fit within the team. Mercedes might also be using this opportunity to gauge the readiness of younger talents in their pipeline, such as Andrea Kimi Antonelli, whom they are considering for a seat as early as 2026 after he gains more experience in Formula 2, or maybe even the Williams F1 team.

As the discussions between Mercedes and Sainz unfold, the broader context of Formula 1's dynamic driver market continues to influence the negotiations. Sainz, aware of the volatility in the sport, is keen to secure his future swiftly to avoid missing out on opportunities to remain in a competitive seat. But judging from his recent campaigns in every race so far, minus the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, of course, he won't find it difficult to land himself in a seat for 2025. The question is, how competitive will the seat be?

While the outcome of these talks remains uncertain, what is clear is the high regard in which Sainz is held across the paddock. His ability to attract interest from the likes of Mercedes and other leading teams speaks volumes about his stature.

Alex Harrington


Alex is the editor-in-chief of F1 editorial. He fell in love with F1 at the young age of 7 after hearing the scream of naturally aspirated V10s echo through his grandparents' lounge. That year he watched as Michael Schumacher took home his fifth championship win with Ferrari, and has been unable to look away since.