While Williams are in no rush to seal a deal with Carlos Sainz, team boss James Vowles said there is a “Plan B” option prepared.

Sainz, who will depart Ferrari at the end of F1 2024 to make room for Lewis Hamilton, is considered the cork in the bottle for the F1 2025 driver market, with Williams having made no secret of the fact that he is on their radar, as their “number one target” in fact.

Williams confirm ‘Plan B’ option exists amid Carlos Sainz pursuit

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com ahead of the British Grand Prix, Vowles confirmed that there is no “imminent” decision coming on the Sainz front, as he made it clear that a “long-term relationship” is the aim when selecting the team-mate for the already re-signed Alex Albon.

Asked how long he is prepared to wait for Sainz, Vowles replied: “I mean, I’ll go back to, he’s a world class driver. So the decision isn’t imminent. It’s not today that we need to make it.

“But what I’ve said all along is actually the timeline is less important to me. What’s more important is that whatever decision we come to or the driver comes to, it’s about forging a long-term relationship with each other – i.e. both see the journey we’re on and want that to be a part of their lives.

“I’m fairly sure you’ll see all this cleared up before we get to September. That’s the normal time. If you look at a normal routine, we’re actually just now going back into what is a normal schedule where August is spent doing contracts. But I’m pretty sure you’ll find it all cemented by then.”

As for whether Williams has a Plan B driver option should Sainz not sign with them, Vowles confirmed: “Fundamentally, yes. Simple answer to it.”

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Logan Sargeant is battling to retain his place in the Williams line-up, but talk surrounding the American has more been geared towards whether he will see out the F1 2024 campaign, rather than his prospects of an F1 2025 seat.

Vowles confirmed Williams are “open-minded” when quizzed on the prospect of a mid-season driver swap, though said it is not a driver issue which Williams have, it is the car, having scored just two points so far this season.

“We’re continually evaluating it,” said Vowles when asked if he would consider a driver swap before F1 2024 is over?

“What we’ve said to Logan is it’s a meritocracy. You have to make sure you earn your place in the sport continuously. That’s been the same message that has been for 18 months really for him.

“And we are open-minded to things. What I’ve said before and I’ve maintained today, is that our car, and this is a responsibility on my shoulders and the team, isn’t quick enough. It’s not a driver issue we suffer from today. We’ve simply been out-developed and we have to make sure we accelerate that process.”

As for potential alternate threats to Sargeant’s seat should Sainz not join Williams, Vowles was asked where their academy driver Franco Colapinto, who made his FP1 debut at Silverstone, fits into this equation?

Vowles would speak of a “significantly” expanding junior programme and the need to ensure suitable preparation in Formula 1 machinery for a rookie before their debut, which he said Colapinto has not received to this point.

“I think, first of all, today was sort of a reward for a very strong Formula 2 season,” said Vowles of Colapinto.

“I like recognising that we have a strong young driver programme. We invested in Logan and we’ll continue to invest in our young driver programme, simple as that. It’s expanding quite significantly in the background.

“And today wasn’t a showcase or demonstration or a test. It was simply reward for a good progression. And we have to do two FP1s in the season. It’s sensible to do it here at Silverstone. I didn’t expect it to be wet then dry then wet but anyway, that’s Silverstone as well for you.

“I believe that you really can burn a driver if you put them in the car too soon. And actually in modern day Formula 1, what you’re seeing is rookies are struggling as a result of things.

“So it’s not just about excellent, you’ve done a fairly good Formula 2, you got a podium. Actually our investment, our commitment to them has to be an amount of time in a historic car, an amount of time with preparation to make sure that if we choose them to go forward, they’re effectively in the strongest place they can be. And we haven’t provided that to Franco at this point.”

Williams’ two points so far in F1 2024 came courtesy of a P9 finish for Alex Albon in Monaco.

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