Ferrari star Carlos Sainz in line for Lewis Hamilton swap as Mercedes ‘begin talks’

Carlos Sainz could be on his way to Mercedes to 2025 after talks between his team and the German manufacturer begin

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Carlos Sainz could be set to swap seats with Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 Formula 1 season after it emerged Mercedes have opened talks with the Ferrari star’s representatives.

The Spaniard, 29, has been left without a drive for next season following the news in February that the Scuderia have agreed a deal to bring Hamilton in on a reported £80million-a-year contract.

The seven-time world champion will join Charles Leclerc in a star-studded lineup under Fred Vasseur for 2025 as Ferrari make their title intentions clear. It means Sainz must find a new team in order to avoid being left off the grid for next year, although the Madrid-born man has plenty of options available.

Mercedes, with a confirmed vacancy due to Hamilton’s impending departure, appears to be the most likely destination as the team want an established driver to partner George Russell, while Sauber – soon to become Audi – are another option.

Corriere dello Sport report that Sainz’s management team, comprising of his father, Carlos Sainz Sr, and cousin, Carlos Onoro, sat down for talks with the Mercedes leadership to discuss a possible move at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

It is reported that Sainz’s entourage stayed in the Mercedes headquarters for ‘a long time’ and his management have spoken ‘extensively’ with team principal Toto Wolff to gauge whether Sainz could drive for the Silver Arrows in 2025. There is nothing to deny this happened either, with Carlos Onoro and Carlos Sr seen walking out of the Mercedes base while in Jeddah.

Verstappen throws a spanner in the works

Sainz’s chances of moving to Mercedes could rest upon whether they make a move to snatch Max Verstappen away from Red Bull, with the Dutchman’s future with the team far from certain.

Wolff has made no secret of his admiration for Verstappen and the chance to snap up the fastest driver on the grid would be too good to turn down if it arose. For now, the Silver Arrows are biding their time and waiting to see what comes from the Red Bull fallout.

The 26-year-old has a contract until 2028 with the Austrian team and it is believed he is happy with the team, having won three consecutive driver championships with the team.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull in the Paddock ahead of 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen of Red Bull in the Paddock ahead of 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

But the issue of Helmut Marko’s future could see him make a shock departure, with Verstappen making it crystal clear he would trigger a break clause in his contract if Marko, 80, was ousted.

Jos Verstappen, Max’s father, has also made public his disapproval of Christian Horner staying with the team, with the team principal recently cleared after allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

But if Verstappen does decide to stay put, Sainz would be a leading contender for a seat along with Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and 17-year-old sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is currently driving in Formula 2.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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