Since the start of the 2023 F1 season, there have only been three grand prix winners: Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz. Red Bull has been nothing short of dominant since 2023, and they hold the most coveted seat on the F1 grid for 2025. While Max Verstappen is under contract through 2028, teammate Sergio Perez’s contract expires at the end of this season. 

Perez, 34, collected two wins and ten additional podium finishes for Red Bull in 2023 and 2024 (four races in). Despite putting up solid race results, his efforts pale in comparison to his teammate and generational talent, Max Verstappen. Perez came under scrutiny in parts of the 2023 season due to poor race results by Red Bull’s standards. In Japan, Perez endured multiple collisions to open the race, and on lap 12, ended his chances of contending after colliding with Kevin Magnussen. Two races later during his home grand prix in Mexico City, he crashed out on the first turn in the opening lap, resulting in a DNF. 

Perez’s presence of inconsistency prompted some speculation that he could be replaced prior to or at the conclusion of the 2024 season. One threat that has strongly come to emerge is Ferrari’s Carlos Saniz. 

After Ferrari announced their intentions to add Lewis Hamilton to their driver lineup for 2025, it left Carlos Saniz without a racing seat in F1 for 2025. Sainz, 29, finished seventh in the drivers championship in 2023, six points behind teammate Charles Leclerc. Sainz has three career grand prix victories, including earlier this year in Australia. In his three race appearances in 2024, he’s beaten teammate Charles Leclerc each time, and out-qualified him twice. 

Carlos Sainz — courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

If Sainz were to join Verstappen at Red Bull, it wouldn’t be the first time they’d be teammates. At Toro Rosso (now known as Visa Cash App RB) Sainz and Verstappen were teammates during 2015 and the first four races of 2016, before Verstappen got promoted to Red Bull. 

It was also announced on Thursday, April 11, 2024, that two-time world champion Fernando Alonso signed an extension with Aston Martin. This eliminates any possibility that he will join Red Bull in 2025. 

Sainz may have to contend with RB drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda for the second seat at Red Bull in 2025. Ricciardo and Tsunoda fill the two seats at Red Bull’s junior team, RB. Tsunoda, 23, is in his fourth campaign with RB and has said in recent interviews he wants to race for Red Bull: “I mean, hopefully they will consider it,” Tsunoda said following the Australian Grand Prix three weeks ago. “I just want to increase my value as a driver so that I can be pretty strong.”

Ricciardo, 34, has an attractive personality and is an eight-time grand prix winner and won seven with Red Bull. He’s also a former teammate of Verstappen and previously worked with Red Bull’s current team principal, Christian Horner. Despite his prior experience with Red Bull, his chances of landing the coveted seat may be in jeopardy due to being outperformed by Tsunoda thus far in 2024. 

It’s noteworthy to mention that Red Bull has a history of moving on from drivers prematurely to their contracts expiring. After four races in 2016, Red Bull demoted Daniil Kyvat to its junior team for Max Verstappen. In 2019 after 12 races, Pierre Gasly was demoted from the main team for Alex Albon, who was promoted from the junior team. Most recently in 2023, Nyck de Vries was cut from AlphaTauri (RB) after ten races in his rookie season.

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari — courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

If Carlos Sainz puts together a strong 2024 campaign, expect his name to be in a lot of rumors surrounding the second seat at Red Bull. F1 will travel to Shanghai for the first Chinese Grand Prix since 2019, and the race will take place on Sunday, April 21.