F1 Q&A: Andrew Benson answers your questions after Australian GP

Andrew: The driver market is unusually open this year. Yes, both seats at Ferrari and McLaren are full but Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin all have at least one available, as do most of the teams in the back half of the grid, of which the most attractive long-term is Sauber, as it is morphing into Audi by 2026.

Sainz will be close to the top of most people’s lists – he is too good not to be. But his attractiveness is less than it might seem because of the other drivers in the picture – primarily Fernando Alonso and Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

You might think Sainz would be a good fit at Red Bull, Mercedes or Aston Martin, for example. And Audi – as Sauber will become in 2026 – are definitely interested.

But there were tensions between Red Bull, Max Verstappen and Sainz when they were team-mates at Toro Rosso.

Mercedes’ sights are set on Verstappen – should he become available, Antonelli – their protege in Formula 2 and then Alonso, in that order.

And Aston Martin want to keep Alonso, and have already offered him a lucrative new multi-year contract, and will only look elsewhere if he moves. So Sainz is to some degree a hostage of fortune. He’ll definitely end up somewhere, but it’s a very fluid situation and hard to predict as a result.

SOURCE: BBC Sport   (go to source)
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