Four-time Dakar winner Carlos Sainz Sr says it only “makes sense” for him to talk to his son, Ferrari charger Carlos Sainz Jr, about Audi’s prospects in Formula 1.
The 61-year-old rally legend became last week in Saudi Arabia the oldest winner in the Dakar rally raid’s history. But Sainz also delivered to Audi its first win in the adventurous and gruelling event.
Time will tell if Audi returns to the Dakar in 2025, but rumors claim the German manufacturer won’t be dusting off its RS Q e-tron machine for another onslaught on the event as it channels the majority of its resources into F1, a project it is sharing with Sauber.
Sainz Jr is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2024, but the 29-year-old has been linked for some time to Audi’s F1 plans from 2026.
However, the two-time Grand Prix winner would likely need to be convinced that Audi could provide him with a competitive car and a chance to win races before he would consider leaving Maranello.
But having his own father on the inside at the Ingolstadt firm creates an intriguing situation Sainz Jr.
"Audi is always a certainty [in terms of being successful],” said Sainz Sr after his Dakar triumph last week. “After all, I know how seriously they take every project.
"I also know well what the famous German mentality means in practice, both the good sides and not-so-good sides, but we just have to have a lot of respect for the Volkswagen Group with Audi as part of it."
Sainz Sr seems already convinced of Audi’s success in Formula 1, singing the manufacturer’s praise.
"We all know that Formula 1 is a special world, and I have a lot of respect for Audi,” he added. "In my eyes, it's just a matter of time before they succeed in F1.
“I don't have a crystal ball, but the moment Audi decides to enter F1, they already command a lot of respect from me with that.
"Of course, it makes sense at Carlos' house to talk about what Audi can get done, all the more so because I am a member of that Audi family."
Recent reports have indicated that Sainz is chasing a new two-year deal with Ferrari, but the Scuderia might not be inclined to offer the Spaniard more than a one-year contract to keep its options open for 2026.
Sainz has also indicated that he doesn’t want to go into 2024 without a deal in place for the following season.
He has done a good job at Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc, making a new deal with Ferrari the most probable outcome.