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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Sainz confident of not missing competitive F1 drive as Audi deadline looms

Carlos Sainz is adamant he will not let the best opportunity for a competitive Formula 1 drive slip through his fingers by holding out too long on a decision for next year.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of this season after Ferrari elected to replace him with Lewis Hamilton for 2025.

He is still weighing up his options, with Sauber having made him a lucrative offer to join the squad as it transitions into Audi from 2026.

However, it is widely understood that the Swiss-based outfit wants an early decision – believed to be by the end of this month – from Sainz. If the Spaniard does not accept it by then, it is believed it will pursue other options, including Esteban Ocon.

Sainz has to weigh up whether taking the Sauber option is right for him at this stage of his career, with there being potential vacancies at Red Bull and Mercedes for next year that would certainly offer a more competitive proposition.

However, it is looking increasingly likely that Mercedes will opt for Andrea Kimi Antonelli, while Red Bull is edging closer to keeping on Sergio Perez for another year.

Sainz clearly does not want to miss the opportunity of a drive at Red Bull and Mercedes if they became vacant, but also cannot risk ending up with nothing if he waits for them and loses the Audi chance.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, on a bike

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, on a bike

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The situation appears quite complicated, but Sainz said ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that he was very relaxed about things and felt there was no danger of missing out on what was best for him.

“Behind the scenes I know more,” he said. “You have the rumours and everything, but don't worry, I'm not going to let slip anything.

“I'm going to just put all the options on the table and make the right decision. I can just tell you that, once I open my mind up, everything will happen very quickly. It's all about putting everything together that I feel like I need on my next new contract.”

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Sainz said nothing was settled in his head yet, and he had not set himself a timetable to make a call.

“I haven't made my mind up yet,” he said. “I don't know where I'm going to be racing next year. I don't have set deadlines and I don't know how to do deadlines.

“But I can tell you that, with such an important decision in this stage of my career, that I want to have all the other cards on the table to take the right one and think about it carefully.

“I'm about to be 30 this year and the next project is a project that I really want to make it work and see how it goes. So I'm going to give myself as much time as I need.”

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