Zhou Guanyu finds it “difficult to understand” why Carlos Sainz is taking so long to decide his F1 future, after all, he’s picking between midfield runners, not championship contenders.

After this year’s early driver announcements which included Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari, ousted Ferrari driver Sainz has become the cork in the bottleneck.

Carlos Sainz refusing to be rushed into F1 2025 decision

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

While the Spaniard was initially in the running for the Mercedes seat in what would’ve been a straight swap with Hamilton, his choices were then said to be limited to Audi and Williams.

But with Alpine confirming Esteban Ocon’s exit, the Enstone team added its name to the running with reports claiming that could even be a done deal.

Sainz was asked about his future at Silverstone and made it clear he won’t be rushed.

“I’m going to take all the time possible that I can to make such an important decision because it involves the outcome of the next few years of my life,” he said.

“I think it’s valid for me to give myself the time.”

But his delay is holding up the rest of the driver market.

Although Haas confirmed Oliver Bearman in the build-up to the British Grand Prix, other drivers are waiting to learn their fate. Especially those said to be in the running should Sainz not take a specific seat.

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That includes Sauber’s two drivers, Zhou and Valtteri Bottas, with the former linked to Alpine and the latter to Williams. Either could also yet retain their Sauber seat with only Nico Hulkenberg signed for next season.

“We’re all waiting for Carlos to make decisions. But we’re continuing to speak to different teams to understand where I’m going,” Zhou told the media including PlanetF1.com.

“Honestly, I feel it’s a bit difficult to understand. Just because it’s not that difficult to make decisions.

“You’re not really making a decision of a team maybe fighting for a World Championship. You’re making a decision between, let’s say, a team that is a mid-runner team.

“I don’t know what he’s thinking, but we’re just waiting for him.

“At some stage, I think the team will have some deadline at least, because you can’t be just waiting for him to make his mind up.”

Revealing he realistically has “more than one” option on the table for next season, Zhou admits this year’s Sauber struggles have been made more difficult given his contract situation.

“It’s difficult I think for the drivers while you’re fighting for your future, and things are not going in your direction,” he said.

“Nothing has really changed, I’m focused on the current race weekend by race weekend, and then waiting for the decision to be made. And then we can go more further into the details to understand what the future brings.

“I feel like the chance is still there. Every year there’s several drivers fighting for the seat I have so that’s nothing really strange to make me feel frustrated. It’s very normal.”

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