Red Bull Urged to Avoid Signing High-Maintenance Driver

Reportedly contemplating Carlos Sainz for the second seat at Red Bull, Giedo van der Garde has cautioned the reigning champions against making a move unless Max Verstappen departs for Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton’s decision in February to part ways with Mercedes after this season ignited Formula 1’s rumor mill, intensifying speculation across the paddock.

With Hamilton’s departure creating a vacancy for 2025, Sainz finds himself without a race seat, despite his impressive performances in the 2024 season, trailing only behind Verstappen. Consequently, the Spaniard is engaged in discussions with “pretty much” every team in the grid, including Red Bull and Mercedes.

Although it might seem logical for Red Bull to secure the services of the only non-Red Bull driver to have clinched a Grand Prix victory since 2022, Van der Garde argues that such a move should only be considered if the rumors of Verstappen’s potential move to Mercedes materialize.

“Red Bull will soon have the choice to sign Carlos Sainz or go for Perez, who is simply a good second driver,” remarked the former driver, emphasizing the importance of assessing the situation carefully before making a decision.

“Or both, but that depends on what Max is going to do. If he has an option to go somewhere else, like Mercedes, then you have to get Sainz, being Red Bull.”

Sainz recently pressed his potential teams for a prompt decision, expressing his desire for a resolution “sooner rather than later.”

However, with the Verstappen scenario still uncertain, Van der Garde has advised him to exercise patience, suggesting that he could potentially step in to replace Verstappen at Red Bull.

Van der Garde views the prospect of Sainz and Verstappen forming a lineup as incompatible, leading him to believe that Red Bull should maintain Sergio Perez as the teammate to the triple World Champion. In his perspective, replacing Verstappen is the only viable option.

“Sainz will of course talk to everyone. If I were him, I’d wait,” he continued. “If there is an option to get into the best car, the Red Bull…

“As long as Verstappen is there, Sainz will not be there, I don’t believe that. That’s too much fuss. But if something happens to Max and he chooses another team, as Red Bull I would get Sainz. As long as Perez continues to drive next to Max as he is doing now, he can stay for another two years.”

Nevertheless, should Red Bull choose to pair Sainz with Verstappen in the RB21, Van der Garde anticipates a “great fight” between the teammates.

However, at present, it remains speculative. “Sainz is good,” he acknowledged. “You saw how they performed in 2015. They would be very close together.

“I think Sainz is better than Perez. It would be very close and make for great fights, but it’s all speculation. We still have 2025 first.

“Let’s finish this season first and see what happens with the driver market. It would be nice next season if the teams get closer together, and 2026 will be very different with the new rules.”