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Sainz's apparent Mercedes move: One or two-year deal?

Sainz's apparent Mercedes move: One or two-year deal?
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Several respected Italian newspapers, with insider information, are converging on the view that Carlos Sainz is likely to join Mercedes for the 2025 Formula 1 season.

Several respected Italian newspapers, with insider information, are converging on the view that Carlos Sainz is likely to join Mercedes for the 2025 Formula 1 season.

Previously considered mere speculation, this possibility has solidified following coverage in esteemed publications such as La Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere della Sera, and La Repubblica.

There's a split in opinion over the duration of the Spanish driver's potential contract with Mercedes. Some speculate it could be a short-term, one-year agreement to bridge the gap until Toto Wolff's protégé, Kimi Antonelli, accrues sufficient experience at Mercedes-powered Williams. Conversely, a two-year tenure or a more flexible contract with options post-2025 is deemed probable by others.

Doubts linger about whether this move will leave Sainz near the front of the grid.

"Mercedes is a long way off the pace," former Red Bull racer Robert Doornbos commented on Ziggo Sport. "Even (Fernando) Alonso indicated that he didn't want to sign there."

Nonetheless, La Gazzetta dello Sport remains convinced of the impending Sainz transfer to Mercedes, with Audi-owned Sauber being the only other serious contender for his signature. This publication believes Audi has instead now initiated negotiations with Alpine's disenchanted drivers, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

According to journalist Luigi Perna, Antonelli is slated to start his F1 career at Williams next year at age 18, while Sergio Perez continues as Max Verstappen's teammate at Red Bull.

Despite the speculation, Germany's Bild newspaper cautions that a formal announcement regarding Sainz's move to Mercedes "in the next few weeks" is unlikely.

For the remainder of the 2024 season, Sainz will stay with Ferrari, where he has notably outperformed teammate Charles Leclerc.

"I have to say that from last year, in the second part of the season, I saw incredible growth from Carlos," former F1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi observed. "I didn't expect to see Leclerc under such pressure and in difficulty this year," he added to Corriere dello Sport, "but he is suffering from Sainz's performances."

"Next year, he (Leclerc) will have Lewis Hamilton next to him, so I hope Charles can find himself again. He will be fundamental for the balance of the reds."

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