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A few weeks ago, Carlos Sainz admitted that he would not remain with one of the front-running F1 teams after seeing the doors at Mercedes and Red Bull both close.

However, as the Spaniard has continued to consider his future, it appears the door could have reopened for him to join Mercedes next year.

Sainz has been considering offers from Alpine, Sauber and Williams for next year following his departure from Ferrari, with the Mercedes seat looking set to go to its 17-year-old protege, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who races in Formula Two.

But Antonelli has endured a tricky rookie season in F2 amid struggles for his Prema team with the new generation of car. Antonelli is a teammate of Oliver Bearman, the Ferrari youngster named Haas F1 driver for 2025 on Thursday.

Wolff previously said that Mercedes wanted to focus on young drivers, prompting it to pass on Sainz, but was coy on the status of the driver market when I asked him earlier today what, if anything, had changed to make him an option once again.

“The driver market at the moment is quite a dynamic, interesting thing,” Wolff said. “I think because some of the drivers have more options, and some of the teams have more options. So it’s… interesting. And you know it’s like Bernie (Ecclestone) said, last week I have an opinion, this week I have a different one.”

Speaking about Antonelli, Wolff acknowledged that his F2 season had been “a bit tricky” and that he had faced pressure given the scrutiny around him.

“He’s been talked a lot about,” Wolff said. “His junior formula and go-karting track record is one of a kind. And that’s clear that the pressure ramps up. It’s like his father says: a champion needs to be thrown into cold water and needs to swim. So they are very clear about that.”

Wolff praised Antonelli’s attitude and his supportive family, saying they always had an “objective assessment of the situation, which is good or not good enough.”

“You have got to swim, that’s clear, Wolff said. “He has had a rapid career progression; he’s 17 and does not even have a driver’s license for a road car. The best ones will be able to cope with the amount of scrutiny and pressure, and that is only going to get bigger.”


Carlos Sainz faces dwindling F1 options after top teams look elsewhere for 2025

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