April 23, 2024

Carlos Sainz given clear Toto Wolff order and told not to ‘waste’ his F1 prime

Carlos Sainz should call Toto Wolff “every single day” to secure the Mercedes seat instead of wasting his career and moving to the new Audi team.

That is the view of former F1 driver and current Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok, who has backed Sainz to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. Sainz has been left without a Formula 1 seat for next season after Ferrari decided to retain Charles Leclerc with Hamilton as his teammate instead.

Sainz has endured an impressive start to the new F1 campaign despite missing the second race of the season in Saudi Arabia after undergoing appendix surgery. He came third in Bahrain before returning and winning the Australian Grand Prix, breaking Max Verstappen’s winning streak in the process.

And with Mercedes looking for a replacement for the departing Hamilton, Chandhok believes Sainz should try to do “everything” to join the Brackley-based team next season. Sainz has been linked with a shock move to Audi, who are planning to be on the F1 grid going into the 2026 campa

Everyone just assumes he’s going to Audi for 2026,” Chandhok told Sky Sports. “I just don’t see why he wants to go there, and I don’t think he wants to go there.

“I think he will think about going further down the line towards the latter part of his career, but Audi are not going to win the World Championship in ’26, ’27 or probably ’28. They’re not.

“For Sainz, by the time he goes to Audi, let’s say gets a championship contender in ’29, he’s going to be 38 years old. This is the prime of his career! He cannot afford to waste it with a new start-up team. He needs to be trying to do everything he can to get in that Mercedes seat

“I’d be on the phone to Toto every single day to send him every possible metric and spreadsheet of why he is an equal to Charles Leclerc

Sainz is fourth in the Drivers’ Standings on 40 points from the opening three races. It remains to be seen where Sainz would be if he didn’t have to miss the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but there is no doubt the 29-year-old has been one of the standout performers so far this season.

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