Carlos Sainz Jr. Is a Hot Property with Growing List of F1 Suitors after Australian GP Win

f1 grand prix of australia
Win Makes Sainz Jr. a Hot Property with F1 SuitorsKym Illman - Getty Images
  • Carlos Sainz Jr. gave himself the best possible endorsement for an F1 ride in 2025 by winning Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

  • Sainz is looking for work for next year, as he's being replaced at Ferrari by current Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

  • Paddock rumors link Sainz with the Hamilton vacancy at Mercedes.

Following his surpsize win in Australia, Carlos Sainz Jr. is suddenly being linked with an increasing number of Formula 1 teams for 2025.

Sainz, a 29-year-old Spaniard, who in his own words is "still without a job for next year" after Ferrari decided to replace him with Lewis Hamilton, gave himself the best possible endorsement by winning Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

The feat was even more impressive given that he is still recovering from recent appendix surgery.

"That was the best possible job application, if that's what he needed," former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos told Netherlands media outlet Ziggo Sport after the Melbourne race.

f1 grand prix of australia
Carlos Sainz has reason to smile about his F1 future after this latest win.Qian Jun/MB Media - Getty Images

Sainz agreed, saying, "For sure it does no harm, but I think everyone already knows more or less what I'm capable of. I don't race to prove something to team principals, or prove to people my value."

Sainz even pulled off a stunning pass on Max Verstappen prior to the dominant Red Bull's early brake failure and fire. "A pity," Sainz said of the Verstappen's first DNF in two years, "because I think we would have had a good fight for P1 today."

Doornbos added: "Let's also not forget that he was on the way to pole position and only lost it with a mistake in the last few corners."

But although Sainz is the only non-Red Bull driver to have beaten Verstappen at all in 2023 and now in 2024 so far, many continue to underestimate his talent. Fellow Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, however, insists he's "not too worried" about Sainz's future because he is "for sure" already in talks with multiple teams.

Paddock rumors are already linking Sainz with the Lewis Hamilton vacancy at Mercedes, but also Sauber—a team transitioning to Audi for 2026—and Aston Martin. And don't count out Red Bull.

Sainz is a former member of the Red Bull family, and was close to Verstappen's pace when they were rookies at Toro Rosso. Doornbos therefore thinks the 29-year-old could therefore be an ideal replacement for Sergio Perez.

"Perez was not good today," Doornbos said on Sunday. "I don't think he made an impression on the Red Bull staff, even though he started the season strongly."

And if the Red Bull unrest really does result in Verstappen departing the team, Sainz would be a strong candidate to replace him.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner earlier favored Daniel Ricciardo for a return to the energy drink company's top team for 2025, but the Australian is now struggling even to keep up with Yuki Tsunoda at RB.

"There is a very fast driver who won the race today who does not have a contract for next year," Horner smiled in Melbourne on Sunday. "The driver market is naturally picking up now.

"We want the best possible pair of drivers at Red Bull Racing, so sometimes you need to look outside the system for that. Based on today, any possibility cannot be ruled out," the Briton added.

"We have time. Carlos has had a great start to the season and won the race today, so we won't rush to make a decision."