Schumacher warns Sainz before leaving for Williams: Right or wrong?


schumacher thinks sainz better not choose WIlliams
31 May at 18:00
  • Ludo van Denderen

Carlos Sainz is running out of options. The Spaniard, who has to leave Ferrari after this season, had hoped for a move to Mercedes or Red Bull Racing, in reality he can choose between Audi and Williams. His preference seems to be for the latter team, which Ralf Schumacher does not understand at all. The former F1 driver and current analyst advises Sainz to mainly choose Audi. Rightly so?

For six seasons, Schumacher competed for Williams, the team for which the German collected five Formula 1 victories. No doubt Schumacher has a warm bond with the team, which has been waiting for years to match previous successes. Yet the German does not advisse Sainz - the best free agent on the driver market - to choose Williams. Indeed, in a YouTube video, he says he would "strongly advise against" Sainz going to Williams.

"Last year they made a huge run. And if you look at it critically, you can say it was still the hand of Jost Capito [former team boss, ed.]. Since then it has been going downhill," states Schumacher, who advises Sainz to opt for Sauber - the team that will become Audi in 2026. They too are a team that competes at the back of the grid, but according to Schumacher, Sainz would feel more at home there.

Sainz better at Audi or Williams?

Sauber have yet to collect a single point this season, Williams have two - thanks to a fine performance by Alex Albon in Monaco. Viewed this way, the two teams seem little apart. At first glance, however, Audi's future seems to be surrounded by more question marks than Williams'. They are going to have to wait and see how strong the Audi power unit is in '26, while on the chassis side the necessary improvements are needed.

Williams appear to be a step ahead of Sauber at the moment, but it has become clear in recent months that the British team have quite a bit to do in terms of personnel, equipment and further development. Logan Sargeant, for instance, had to watch in Melbourne on the sidelines, as he had to cede his car to Alex Albon - who had damaged his own car beyond repair in a crash. In terms of new parts, Sargeant also had to wait regularly before he could make use of them. Indeed, Williams' factory could only sporadically bring updates for both drivers at the same time.

Williams' problems not resolved soon

This problem is not going to be solved during the next 12 months, so for Sainz - if he chooses Williams - and Albon in '25 it will be a wait and see who can have the best car each time. A pleasant prospect for the ambitious Sainz? Sauber may be behind, but new owner Audi are very intent on making the F1 adventure a success. No expense is being spared for that. So yes, there is a real chance of a difficult start for Sainz. But for the longer term, working for a factory team with enough budget is probably more pleasant.

Schumacher came up with another reason why Sainz would be better off choosing Audi. "I would choose the one who wants me 100 per cent," he said. And indeed, Vowles does not see Sainz as the top priority. So would that be the deciding factor for the Spaniard?