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Williams confirm 'number one target' for F1 drive

Williams boss James Vowles is making no secret of his desire to land this 'impressive athlete'.

James Vowles
To news overview © XPBimages

James Vowles has made it crystal clear Carlos Sainz is his "number one target" in a bid to give Williams what he considers would be one of the best driver line-ups on the Formula 1 grid.

Vowles has made no secret of the fact he is openly courting Sainz, making a sales pitch to the Spaniard that Williams is a team on the rise, and that he can play his part in that ascendancy.

Vowles has now gone a step further by making it abundantly clear Logan Sargeant does not have a future with Williams, and he wants Sainz alongside Alex Albon next season.

"He's a race-winning driver who last year, against all odds, beat Max [Verstappen] in Singapore with a brilliant drive," said Vowles, speaking to Sky Sports F1. "And that's not the first time.

"He's intelligent in how he processes things, logical, incredibly quick. What he did this year in Shanghai, it's going to sound like a negative, it's not. In qualifying, he crashed. And we've all been there to a certain extent.

"It is an impressive athlete that can reset themselves, go back out and then beat your team-mate in that condition, and I think that shows you just how strong he is as a driver.

"I think any team on the grid would be fortunate to have someone like Carlos alongside them."

Pressed directly on whether he would say Sainz is his number one target, Vowles declared: "The number one target is Carlos."

As to the pitch to Sainz, given Williams' past history and its difficulties, despite the different era seemingly in full swing at present, he joked: "Mainly my charm and my sense of humour."

He then added: "The main thing is this. There's a reason why I left Mercedes to come here. This isn't the Williams of old.

"First and foremost, the fact that we have Sainz on our list will certainly show you this isn't how we have performed of late. We are prepared to have a driver line-up that I think is going to be one of the best on the grid, if it's achieved. That's a different era that we're going into.

"We're investing tens if not hundreds of millions to get this team back to where it was in terms of success. And this is just part of the reason why I've changed [teams].

"There is, in the background, a number of really great signings that will slowly start edging out into the world over the next few weeks.

"This really is a good journey where we're now starting to see the hard work that was started 12 months ago come into play. And that gives me every reason to be comfortable moving forward.

"Williams was also a team that was 10th for many years. Yes, last year we were seventh, and we have started this year poorly. Keep an eye out for us. We're now starting to put performance on the car race by race. This is a different entity to what it was before."

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