Williams team principal James Vowles describes Carlos Sainz as “a tremendous force of nature” as the Spaniard has emerged as a serious option to replace Logan Sargeant.

Sainz will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari at the end of this season and has yet to commit to a new team, with Audi understood to have made him an offer. While Vowles insists no decision has been made on Sargeant’s future so far, RACER understands the Sainz camp holds significant interest in the Williams project — in part due to the expected strength of the Mercedes power unit — and Vowles views him as one of the best drivers on the grid.

“We have talks with drivers, but it’s important to treat those confidentially,” Vowles told RACER. “I think Carlos is tremendous — he’s an incredible driver. He has w on races where others could not, simple as that.

“For years — and I don’t mean months, for years — I think he has been absolutely right up there. If you go all the way back to the Toro Rosso days, he was matching Max . Go back to McLaren, he’s matching Lando , there is every reason to believe that he’s a tremendous force of nature, and it would be foolish of any teams not to have him on the agenda.

“And certainly, from our perspective, while I don’t want to confirm who we are talking to, and what we’re talking to, I could certainly say that teams would be foolish not to have him as part of your lineup.”

Williams have also been linked with the likes of Valtteri Bottas and Andrea Kimi Antonelli if it replaces Sargeant, but RACER understands Sainz is the primary target and Vowles admits his experience would be significant in trying to help the team compete near the front in 2026.

“First of all, my philosophy, generally speaking, is investing in youth. Because I myself was a graduate 30 years ago, and I’ve seen some extraordinary talent come through that way,” he said.

“We have to balance that against where are we in the phase that is Williams today, and what strength do we need as a result of it? And it’s a continual balance that not just myself, other teams are going through as well at the same time.

“Where I think we are, is that having expertise in the car for the next few years alongside Alex is going to be a huge strength. Simple as that. That doesn’t mean I’m not open-minded to younger drivers. It just means that as we are today, I think this team is going through a transformation, and when you’re going through that, stability, and individuals that know what excellence looks like, is a huge strength. Alex is clearly one of those, and a second, I think would be a boon.”

With Mercedes likely to promote Antonelli if it can’t attract Verstappen, and with McLaren’s lineup finalized, Williams could have one of the most competitive seats on the grid available in 2026 based on a growing confidence in the next generation of Mercedes power unit. While that makes it attractive to multiple drivers, Vowles also says there have been signs of performance from Sargeant that show it was right to give the Floridian a chance to retain his drive, after Sargeant stated he is “extremely” close to being at the level required

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“I think every weekend, you can see some brilliance from him,” Vowles said of Sargeant. “Imola, the race performance was strong. It was where it needs to be. The converse, though, in qualifying, I needed more from him. You’ve got to make sure that you’re within the track limits, fundamentally. But the pace was there, it was a better position from that perspective.

“So I do agree with him. It’s why I invested in him last year and why I invested in him this year as well. There is a very strong driver in Logan. And what’s more — you’ll know him well enough — there’s no ego that goes with it. It’s just an individual that wants to push the absolute limits.

“He believes in Williams, he believes in us and believes in the strength of the organization. Those are all great things. But is he performant? Yes. Does it have to come together as a complete package? Yes, as well.”