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Villeneuve: Sainz or Alonso good for Red Bull or Mercedes

alonso verstappen sainz Villeneuve: Sainz or Alonso good for Red Bull or Mercedes

Jacques Villeneuve echoes the sentiments of many true Formula 1 fans disappointed how Mercedes have fallen out of contention, amid the long-winded departure of Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari, and suggests they could do with the solid services of Carlos Sainz or Fernando Alonso. Ditto Red Bull.

Three seasons into the current era F1 rules and the once serial F1 World Champions are still chasing the concept. While Red Bull more than any, and Ferrari increasingly so as Melbourne showed, have dropped Mercedes from the usual top three pecking order.

Mercedes are still lost with their radically revamped package, trailing even their PU-customers McLaren and Aston Martin. As a result, Hamilton is enduring a painful farewell season with the Silver Arrows, while George Russell almost hurt himself Down Under in a season he has to stand up to take over the helm from the Maranello-bound seven-time F1 World Champ.

After a woeful Australian Grand Prix weekend for Toto Wolff and his team, speaking to the media team at OLBG, Villeneuve reckoned: “It is very disappointing. Listening to them before the start of the season it sounded like they were back in the hunt, the car was apparently amazing.

“Then you see the first races and that is not the case. The car seems difficult to come to grips with. Lewis apparently has a hard time setting the car up and George seems to be more at ease with that,” added Villeneuve. So far this season, Russell is 3-0 up in Qualifying against Hamilton.

Villeneuve: Russell is the driver of the future for Mercedes

russell hamilton mercedes ferrari red bull sainz f1

“Gradually Mercedes will start working more and more with George because he is the driver of the future of the team,” predicts Villeneuve.

Inevitably the 52-year-old Canadian weighed in on the 2025 F1 Silly Season which exploded into a frenzy of activity on 1 February when Hamilton to Ferrari blew the roof off the paddock as one of the most coveted seats in motorsport was up for grabs.

Adding fuel to the explosion was the Christian Horner ‘sex-texting’ scandal that has destabilised Red Bull to the point that speculation of Verstappen ditching his winning team and take his remarkable F1 journey on a hitherto unthinkable route: Mercedes his next stop!

In the wake of Carlos Sainz’s superb victory in Australia last time out, and the evergreen Aston Martin veteran Fernando Alonso always lobbying for another top team shot, are also available to partner Verstappen.

And if, Max goes the Mercedes route Red Bull are covered as either Spaniard will slot in just fine beside Sergio Perez, who has to make himself indispensable by scoring strong results regularly aka finishing right behind Verstappen or ahead of him as he did in Melbourne.

A glance at Red Bull’s junior team where Yuki Tsunoda and hapless Daniel Ricciardo can hardly be candidates to replace Perez, let alone either of them pushing Verstappen. This would mean seeking talent outside of the Bull-pen.

Alonso or Sainz for Red Bull or Mercedes?

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Red Bull or Mercedes would benefit from Alonso reckons Villeneuve: “They need someone who is known for being aggressive, selfish when he needs to be, that is hungry and knows what it takes. The only one out there who would be available to do that is Fernando.

“He would be a good choice. Whether he is the right choice you don’t know because some teams have found it difficult working with him in the past. Some have found it easy.

Teams like Red Bull and Mercedes are not easy to work with. If Helmut or Toto doesn’t like you then you are in trouble. It can be very complicated,” explained the 1997 F1 World Champion.

“Another choice might be Sainz,” continued Villeneuve. “He is a very mature driver and very intelligent. You saw that in the Singapore race last year and to a certain extent [in Australia]. He won the race for Ferrari. Not Ferrari for him.

“He has a lot of strengths but does he have that extra tenth of a second that Verstappen has? I don’t know. Is he capable of massaging the car the same way that Max does? I haven’t seen anyone massage a car like Max does.”

Villeueve doubts Verstappen to Mercedes will happen: “I can’t imagine Toto Wolff wanting Max! The only way he would entertain the idea would just be to annoy Red Bull. I can’t see him at Mercedes because they lost the 2021 championship to Red Bull and Max.

“It would definitely not be because [Wolff] really wanted Max. It would be more to do with wanting to get at Red Bull. There are a lot of personal vendettas in there right now both inside and outside of Red Bull. The whole thing is a mess,” declared Villeneuve, an 11-time Grand Prix winner.

Big Question: Alonso or Sainz for Red Bull or Mercedes?