carlos sainz

Villeneuve: Sainz improves every F1 team he drives for

carlos sainz

Jacques Villeneuve warns that Carlos Sainz playing the waiting game might backfire on him while crediting the Spaniard for improving teams he raced for such as McLaren and Ferrari.

With Lewis Hamilton joining Ferrari next year and Charles Leclerc retained, Sainz was the odd one out and has to find himself a drive for 2025 with no current big F1 team needing a driver it seems.

Mercedes might’ve been the obvious destination for Sainz to fill Hamilton’s big shoes alongside George Russell. But Villeneuve previously pointed out: “Toto Wolff’s ego also played a big role in his decision to choose Kimi Antonelli.”


With Ferrari not an option, Mercedes stalling, Red Bull apparently sorted with their two drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Sainz seemed to be on the brink of signing a deal to join Williams. An announcement was expected during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, but that was scuppered.

Speaking to the OLBG Media Team after the British Grand Prix, Villeneuve weighed in on the Sainz saga: “He is still probably hoping for Mercedes, that Antonelli is not good enough so the Seat is available for a few years.”

Villeneuve: Sainz would be great for Williams

sainz leaves ferrari mercedes audi red bull f1 2025

“But playing the waiting game you could find out you are the last one standing and the last one standing is not a positive here,” warned the Canadian. “At some point, you are bound to annoy other teams who have made you amazing offers. Sainz seemed certain to be joining Williams, and then something happened,” reckoned the 1997 F1 World Champion.

That “something” was the arrival of Flavio Briatore at Alpine (aka Renault) to sort out the mess that has become of the once-great French F1 operation under the clueless ‘leadership’ of Luca de Meo. The controversial Italian’s return to the sport, in an official capacity, somehow put a halt to whatever plan the Sainz camp had in place.

Villeneuve questioned the tactics being employed by Sainz to secure a seat on the grid beyond 2024: “When you get a good offer and delay and delay at some point you will piss people off and they won’t want him.

“You end up signing very late and you make it obvious to that team that they were only your third choice. That is not the best thing to do either.”

Sainz has driven for Toro Rosso, Renault, McLaren and Ferrari

Carlos Sainz

Villeneuve went on to sing Sainz’s praises: “He got to McLaren and the team started getting better. He left and it kind of plateaued and suffered when Ricciardo went there. Then he got to Ferrari and they started getting better.

“Carlos has a great work ethic and the way he works with engineers, his feedback is great and it pays off. It has a lot of value. He is quick and competitive and he seems to react well under pressure.

“When he was dropped by Ferrari he did not react badly. He reacted like a cool cat. That makes a lot of difference. Teams like that. He would be great for Williams who need two drivers like that. They are on their way up,” ventured Villeneuve.

As it stands, the scenario for Sainz remains: Mercedes have yet to confirm their second driver; Williams want him; Sauber (aka Audi) want him. Alpine want him. Where the 29-year-old Madridista ends up in 2025 no one knows, perhaps he included at this stage. Watch this space…

Big Question: What is the best F1 team option for Carlos Sainz?