Carlos Sainz Ready To Sign Alpine-Mercedes F1 Deal

F1 British Grand Prix 2024
F1 British Grand Prix 2024

Carlos Sainz says he has spoken his final word on his Formula 1 future beyond 2024 until an official announcement is ready to be made.

The Ferrari refugee is believed to have rejected Audi-owned Sauber’s offer, and pushed the patience of Williams boss James Vowles too far by ignoring several deadlines.

Vowles is now talking about a ‘plan B’ for 2025.

“Fundamentally, yes. Simple answer to it,” he said at Silverstone. “I think we’re on about Y or Z by now, just to be clear.”

Curiously, Vowles’ former boss at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, has leapt back into the fray, as he now hints that 17-year-old protege Kimi Antonelli might not be ready to debut next year amid a less-than-shining first season in Formula 2.

“Antonelli, Sainz and (Max) Verstappen each have a 33.3 percent chance of being with us next year,” he told Sky Italia. “This is the situation we are monitoring.

“We have to make the best decision for the team and also for Kimi, who is still young. We are waiting for more information.”

29-year-old Sainz seems closest, at present, to signing a deal with Alpine, with new team advisor Flavio Briatore having showered him with praise and even a draft contract last time out in Austria.

“Sainz has a draft contract on the table,” Briatore said. “It’s now up to him to say yes or no.”

Respected La Gazzetta dello Sport correspondent Luigi Perna thinks Sainz is “ready” to put pen to paper. “Evidently, Briatore has presented him with a credible relaunch plan, including the abandonment of the Renault power unit to switch to Mercedes starting in 2026,” he wrote.

Toto Wolff admits he would like to sell a customer engine program to a new client.

“We like the thought of replacing Aston Martin with another team because of the sheer learning you’re doing,” he admitted at Silverstone. “I think we’re set up as an organisation that the more power units, the better it is in terms of accelerating some of the developments or the reliability.”

Wolff added that “exploratory discussions” have already taken place with Alpine.

If Alpine cannot secure Sainz’s signature, plan B is either Jack Doohan or Mick Schumacher, who did an unofficial ‘shootout’ test at Paul Ricard on Wednesday in a two-year-old Alpine.

The test results are being kept secret, but Bild newspaper believes Doohan was faster than Schumacher.

“The test went well for both of them, to be honest,” Alpine team boss Bruno Famin told Sky. “They had a very similar program and both did very well.

“They are both on the list and the list is still quite long,” Famin added. “More than three names.”

Pierre Gasly is clear about who he thinks should replace his departing teammate Esteban Ocon. “I want the fastest driver available in the paddock, and that is clearly Carlos at the moment,” he said.

“He is the most competitive, the one with the most experience – I think we would make an excellent duo. Jack and Mick are two good options but it’s certain that Carlos would very clearly be the best option,” the Frenchman added.

Amid the commotion and intrigue, Sainz admitted his unclear future and talks with multiple teams and the media’s endless interest is now proving to be a distraction.

He told Spanish reporters at Silverstone: “I have decided not to talk about my future anymore until I make my decision.”

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