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Carlos Sainz

Sainz 'stressed' by time-consuming F1 future decision

You can only imagine the mental turmoil Carlos Sainz must be going through.

Sainz Austria
To news overview © XPBimages

Carlos Sainz has conceded to feeling stressed by the time-consuming nature of his decision surrounding his F1 future.

Whilst the ball is naturally in Sainz's court as to where he will drive next year and beyond when he leaves Ferrari at the end of this season, it is an understandably complex call he is having to make.

Sainz knows whatever his decision, it will mean a move down the grid, with Alpine, Williams, and Stake/Audi in the running. As for 2026, when new power unit regulations kick in, it is anybody's guess as to who will have the upper hand.

It is why, five months after he was informed by Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur that he would be replaced by Lewis Hamilton, Sainz is still mulling over which team he should join. Away from a race track, it is proving mentally taxing.

Asked by RacingNews365 in a media session ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix how much time was being taken up by thinking about his future move, he replied: "Honestly, quite a lot. I'm not going to lie.

"Mondays to Thursdays, before I arrive at a track, there are a lot of phone calls, a lot of time spent on the phone, meetings with my management team, but also with the teams that I'm talking to, trying to understand and trying to have a full picture of the situation.

"It's probably quite stressful and time consuming, instead of being able to fully disconnect and recharge. Obviously, my mind is still somewhere else, thinking about my future and wondering what it will be, so not an ideal situation.

"At the same time, when I arrived on Thursday, I feel like I'm able to perform as soon as I get into an engineering meeting. As soon as I put the helmet on I feel 100 per cent in the car.

"The Austrian weekend proved I'm still at a very high level, delivering one of my best seasons in Formula 1.

"But as I've always said, I'm not going to be a hypocrite, I believe there's always more performance in having a stable contract situation than being where I'm at now."

For Sainz, if he chooses Alpine, there is the uncertainty of its engine partner from 2026 as it is understood Renault is considering pulling out of F1; with Williams, it is going through a major transitional period, with no guarantees as to when it will be competitive, and whilst Audi is a renowned manufacturer, there is a question mark as to how quickly it can get up to speed.

Trying to obtain information from those teams regarding their plans and potential performance in 2026 is also an issue.

"There's a bit of guessing, a bit of luck, trying to educate yourself on what is happening in Formula 1," said Sainz.

"What I have thought about is not to judge the move in the short term, or in the next few races, or for next year.

"You always need to see and analyse with perspective in mind - was this the right move for Carlos in five years or not?

"That's why I'm going to take all the time possible that I can to make such an important decision because it involves the outcome of the next few years of my life. I think it's valid for me to give myself the time."

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