Sauber confirms Sainz as top target for Audi F1 team


Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi has confirmed that Carlos Sainz is at the top of the Swiss outfit’s shortlist of drivers to lead Audi’s efforts in Formula 1.

As Sauber prepares for its next chapter that will see the Hinwil squad morph into the works Audi team from 2026, securing a top-tier driver to lead the charge is paramount for the German manufacturer.

Sainz’s unexpected exit from Ferrari at the end of the current season following the Scuderia’s decision to hand his seat to Lewis Hamilton has made the Spaniard a hot commodity on the driver market.

Sauber has already made a strategic move by signing Nico Hulkenberg for their 2025 campaign, ensuring they have an experienced driver in position for Audi’s entrance a year later.

Their sights are now set on filling the second seat, preferably with a driver of exceptional talent and with a winning track record. By those criteria, Sainz fits the bill.

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Furthermore, Sainz’s father’s success with Audi in the Dakar Rally creates a natural connection with the manufacturer.

"Everybody knows that there is a top driver that is available in the market, it's Carlos Sainz," said Alunni Bravi, quoted by

"He is one of the best drivers. He shows [himself] to be extremely mature, a good driver to develop the car, to drive the team for the development, but at the same time very consistent, very strong both in qualifying and race. And I think that Ferrari has one of the best pairs of drivers.

"But we know also that the drivers market is not depending just by ourselves. It is depending on different factors.

“There are many teams that are discussing with drivers. And I think that there are several options for our team.

"And we will evaluate, but now that we announced Nico there is no rush to make this choice. We are still at the very beginning."

The Sauber executive remained tight-lipped when questioned about the status of the team’s negotiations with Sainz, and on whether the Swiss outfit’s current drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu remain in contention for a drive with the team in 2025.

"We are speaking with [Sainz] and other drivers," he said. "Also with our current drivers.

"But this is why we have no rush, because now we secured one of the two seats. Now we can have more time. The decision is not an easy one. Because, of course, we have two good drivers that have been with us for three years, that are performing well.

"There is Carlos, there are other drivers, and we need to understand – because here we are taking a decision that is not just impacting 2025 but also the future of the Audi works team.

"So, I would say the duration of the contract, what could be the combination... the driver line-up is important.

"It is not just the decision of a single driver. And all the options are on the table, starting from our current two drivers and find [the one] that could fit into the overall project."

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