RB extends Tsunoda deal as Williams admit Sainz is target

cricket08 June 2024 20:23| © AFP
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Yuki Tsunoda © Getty Images

The RB team confirmed on Saturday that it has activated an option to extend Yuki Tsunoda's contract to the end of 2025.

The Japanese driver has been in impressive form this year and said he was "delighted" to have his future with the team confirmed early in the season.

Tsunoda, 24, has scored 19 points in the opening eight races, out-performing experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo, whose future with the team is now in question.

Reserve driver Liam Lawson is likely to be considered for that seat if the Australian cannot find a renewed form.

As RB, the Red Bull junior team, made their announcement shortly before qualifying started at the Canadian Grand Prix, Williams team boss James Vowles confirmed his strong interest in recruiting Carlos Sainz when he leaves Ferrari this year.

Sainz is being replaced at Ferrari by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton who will leave Mercedes, creating another vacancy in a lively drivers' market.

Vowles said that "Carlos is our No 1 target" when discussing who might join the team alongside Alex Albon next year.

Sainz has been linked with Mercedes, Red Bull and Sauber as well as Williams.

Vowles told Sky Sports: "I can say the No 1 target is Carlos.

"He's a race-winning driver that last year against all odds beat Max [Verstappen] in Singapore with a brilliant drive and that's not the first time.

"He's intelligent in how he does things, logical, incredibly quick. I think any team on the grid would be fortunate to have someone like Carlos alongside them."

Vowles forecast that the driver line-ups for next season would become clearer in the next four weeks.

If Williams sign Sainz – which would be a coup given their troubles in recent years – it may be confirmed at his home Spanish Grand Prix on 23 June.

If Sainz was signs, he would replace American Logan Sargeant who would be without a drive for 2025.