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Marc Priestley Reveals How Max Verstappen Is a Roadblock in Carlos Sainz’s F1 Future

Somin Bhattacharjee

Marc Priestley Reveals How Max Verstappen Is a Roadblock in Carlos Sainz’s F1 Future

Carlos Sainz has been linked to a Red Bull seat ever since his Ferrari exit was announced earlier this year. Initially believed to be a replacement for Sergio Perez, recent developments point toward Sainz eyeing the place Max Verstappen holds at the Milton-Keynes-based outfit. According to former F1 mechanic Marc Priestley, Sainz is hesitant to commit to any team because of this.

Per Priestley, Verstappen will most likely drive for Red Bull in 2025. The Austrian stable will remain a team that fights for the championship. Leaving them for Mercedes [the team he is most strongly linked to] won’t make much sense.

But at the same time, the 26-year-old isn’t too sure about the 2026 season. The ex-McLaren engineer feels that Verstappen is not too confident about Red Bull being dominant after the 2026 regulation changes. For that, he may be involved in talks with Mercedes for a Hamilton-esque move.

“If he [Verstappen] is thinking about a 2026 move to Mercedes, or anywhere else, then that means that no one else is really willing to commit their long term future, which will take them over 2026, knowing there could be a potential seat at Red Bull.” 

This is where Sainz’s dilemma comes in. Priestley talks about the offer Sainz reportedly has from Audi. “But he can’t really commit to that until he knows what Max is doing,” he adds. “Because he does not want to pass up the opportunity [of driving for Red Bull] if it indeed comes along.” 

Sainz has been driving for Ferrari since 2021. And although the Maranello-based outfit has not been a winning team on a regular basis, signing for Audi will be a step-down.

Why Carlos Sainz is apprehensive about Audi move

Sainz’s best years in F1 have come during his Ferrari stint. He has become a three-time race winner, and has gone toe to toe with his teammate Charles Leclerc, regarded as one of the grid’s best drivers. Audi, however, cannot guarantee him similar success.

The German manufacturers enter F1 in 2026 through Sauber, a team that is currently languishing at the bottom. Audi has big plans for the team, but it will almost certainly take time before they become competitive.

As such, Sainz wants to take time and assess his options before signing a contract with anyone. However, he wants that team to be a contender for wins, and not one struggling to get into the points.

Post Edited By:Aishwary Gaonkar

About the author

Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee


Somin Bhattacharjee is an F1 editor at The SportsRush and has written more than 2000 articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and considers sports to be a part of his life. Somin has been a fan of Scuderia Ferrari since 2010 and his favorite driver is none another than the legendary Fernando Alonso. Other than longing for a Ferrari Championship win once again, Somin spends his free time playing football and basketball.

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