Uncertainty over Sainz’s future obscuring Ferrari’s challenge

Carlos Sainz still hasn’t secured a seat for next season. | EPA

Carlos Sainz still hasn’t secured a seat for next season. | EPA

Published Jun 12, 2024



Ferrari’s attempt to stop the runaway train that is Red Bull’s bid for their fourth drivers’ championship title and a third constructors’ title took a hit with the team leaving Canada without any points as uncertainty over Carlos Sainz’s future hangs thick in the air.

Since Frederic Vasseu took over as team principal from long-serving engineer Mattia Binotto last year there has been a lot of clarity within the team and improvement shown, with less mistakes made by the crew and better strategy.

Formula One made a stop at the top of North America for the Canadian Grand Prix and Ferrari were trailing Red Bull by 24 points. Charles Leclerc was the closest he has been in three years to challenging the dominance of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with a difference of 31 points.

Amid wet and tricky conditions, both drivers retired early from the race, putting the skids under their season as they lost ground to Red Bull.

Ferrari went from the highs of the Monaco Grand Prix, one of their best weekends, to possibly their worst. Leclerc’s early retirement due to engine failure would have been more disappointing for a car that has been showing signs of improvement in recent races.

The two Ferrari drivers are in the top four, and despite the knowledge before the first lap was completed that he will not have a seat next year, Sainz has shown his quality.

Williams, with team Principal James Vowles, have become the latest team to show interest in the 29-year-old Spanish driver. Williams, powered by a Mercedes engine, are second-last with only two points for the season.

It is a move that would be an investment in an uncertain future with a team that is still finding its way. He could find himself in the middle of the grid and occasionally at the back, as recent results have shown.

There is the option of Kick Sauber, who will be taken over by Audi in 2026. Their offer could be enticing but at the age of 29, it could also be a risky move as it is hard to predict what Audi will bring.

With Audi, just like Williams, the expectation will be that the car will need time to develop and generally for a driver of Sainz’s quality, he cannot afford to lose three years of his career waiting for that.

A more appealing seat at Mercedes will also be vacant at the end of the season, and a straight swap with Lewis Hamilton could leave the Spaniard still it the heat of the battles with the top teams, with hope of a return to their glory days still hanging in the air but one that ensures he keeps in touch with the top runners currently.

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