Has Carlos Sainz Just Confirmed Lewis Hamilton’s Replacement At Mercedes Next Season?


Has Carlos Sainz Just Confirmed Lewis Hamilton’s Replacement At Mercedes Next Season?


Carlos Sainz Jr. won’t be lining up in a like-for-like swap with Mercedes’ outgoing driver Lewis Hamilton. But a recent podcast appearance could have just revealed which driver has been touted to make the step up next season.

Since it was confirmed that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton would don the iconic red of the Scuderia in 2025, Carlos Sainz Jr.’s future in the sport has yet to be decided.

You’d think that an experienced driver like Sainz would be inundated with offers of a full-time seat next season from the top teams in Formula 1, but almost halfway through another gripping Formula 1 season, the 2025 grid is starting to take shape without him.

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Carlos Sainz Jr. is without a seat next season. Image: Ferrari

Ferrari and McLaren have had their pairing confirmed before Bahrain, whilst Red Bull decided to stick with Sergio Pérez for at least two more seasons as they look to put some distance between the chasing pack, leaving just one top seat for the Spaniard next year.

“I think first of all, Carlos deserves a top seat,” Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said to Sky Sports F1. “He’s done a fantastic job. But for us, we’ve embarked on a route now to say you know what we want to reinvent ourselves a bit going forward and Kimi Antonelli definitely plays a part in that.

“We haven’t taken a decision yet for next year, but we didn’t want to have Carlos wait as he needs to take a decision for himself. That’s just fair. He’s doing a super job.”

Although Wolff has suggested that Hamilton’s vacant seat is yet to be filled for 2025, he couldn’t have been clearer about the profile of driver he’s looking to introduce. Enter Kimi Antonelli, the 17-year-old Italian prodigee who has been hand-selected by Wolff for the future of the constructor.

The FIA has even changed a controversial “Verstappen rule” that meant drivers could not make their Formula 1 debut until they had reached their 18th birthday after a 17-year-old Max Verstappen became the sport’s youngest driver with Toro Rosso.

WATCH Carlos Sainz Jr. suggest that Kimi Antonelli is set for a seat next season below.

Now this doesn’t guarantee that Kimi Antonelli is set for Mercedes – it’s understood that the request to change the rule came from Williams of all places and Wolff has suggested that Antonelli’s future in F1 would be better suited if he had a year away from the German outfit.

But in a recent appearance on the Spanish language podcast Nude Project, Carlos Sainz Jr. has shed some light on the big movers and shakers in the sport, suggesting that as many as two new drivers could enter Formula 1 in 2025 taking the place of two unseated drivers.

With Wolff all but confirming that Sainz won’t be lining up with Mercedes, that could leave Kimi Antonelli to replace Lewis Hamilton to partner with the rising profile of George Russell next year, leaving Sainz with a hugely important decision to make.