Vowles sold on Sainz but is Williams buying

football08 June 2024 07:00| © Reuters
article image
Carlos Sainz © Getty Images

Williams team principal James Vowles doesn't need to be sold on Carlos Sainz but McLaren's Andrea Stella offered a sales pitch on behalf of the Ferrari driver just the same on Friday during a break at a rainy Canada Grand Prix.

With seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton moving to Ferrari to partner Charles Leclerc, Sainz finds himself the odd man out at Maranello looking for a seat for next season.

When the Spaniard came on the market he was a driver considered in high demand viewed as possible replacement for Sergio Perez at Red Bull or stepping into Hamilton's spot at Mercedes.

Some of those doors have closed with Perez inking a two-year extension this week to stay on at Red Bull as wing man for world champion Max Verstappen while Mercedes is reportedly ready to go with young Italian Kimi Antonelli.

But for many outfits up and down the paddock Sainz remains a prize catch.

"First and foremost, I think Carlos is an exceptional driver," said Vowles. "He's a race-winning driver.

"I think any team would be privileged to have him as a part of their organisation.

"But more than that, there's nothing to say at the moment." added Vowles, refusing to reveal his hand.

The potential suitors for Sainz's services are believed to have now boiled down to a choice between Williams and Sauber, which become Audi in 2026.

Stella, who worked with Sainz during his stint at McLaren, had high praise for the Spaniard which did not go unnoticed by Vowles on Friday during a team principal press conference.

"Carlos is an interesting driver, not only for the qualities that led him to be a race winner, but in particular I would highlight that he is very rational," said Stella. "He needs to create a plan in his head around what is the fastest way in a lap, what is the fastest way of racing.

"He adds a lot of rationality to his instinct.

"The importance is that when you have this rational elaboration, it's also easy to communicate and then it becomes a big asset for the team."

There is currently no opening at Williams with Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, the only American on the starting grid, under contract.

But Vowles has given every indication that there soon will be a vacancy if Sargeant does not start producing the results expected.

"Is he where I need him to be target-wise?," asked Vowles. "That's the big question.

"We need more from him, really, to be able to save his seat."