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F1 News: Carlos Sainz reveals aim to negotiate with “all the teams”

Carlos Sainz became collateral damage in Lewis Hamilton’s shock Ferrari move. However, he is primed to be a recurring feature in F1 news this year.

Heading into the winter break, the issue of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz’s contracts became a key talking point. Both drivers were on deals that expired at the end of 2024, and both were intent on securing an extension before the beginning of the season. Initially, it was anticipated that a relatively straightforward set of negotiations would see Ferrari naintain their driver pairing.

This was especially true for Leclerc, whose symbolic and material importance to the Scuderia is well-documented. Even Carlos Sainz, however, was expected to continue at Maranello. After all, the 29-year-old was typically within touching distance of his teammate from 2021 to 2023.

However, this script was soon turned on its head. Lewis Hamilton agreed a multi-year deal with Ferrari in a blockbuster move, reuniting with Fred Vasseur – his former team principal in GP2.

This leaves Sainz in something of an awkward position, and one that few predicted three months ago. Luckily for the Spaniard, there is still an entire season ahead to negotiate with teams and find a soft landing.

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Speaking in last week’s Bahrain tests, he explained his approach to the driver market:

“Obviously, next year the team will be different and I will be moving somewhere else. But I still have no idea where.

“I’m going to take my time to take the decision. The right decision for me, for my career, for the next three-four years that I might be in the next place that I go to.

“In order for that, I need time to see the whole situation, talk to all the teams and see who’s offering the best chance for me to be world champion in the future.”

Almost without fail, F1 news headlines attach Sainz to a potential Sauber move – with the Swiss outfit two years away from an Audi takeover. However, this option is likely more of a safety net than a preference.

Sauber is fundamentally a midfield team, and Audi’s 2026 F1 project has already met several obstacles and delays. Expecting the German manufacturer to become a front-runner immediately is an unrealistic expectation.

Regardless of whether Mercedes or Red Bull are attainable options for Sainz, he will surely wait to gauge his chances before committing his services.

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