Adam Baker names his ‘dream team’ line-up for Audi’s first season in F1

Michelle Foster
Audi F1 presentation with the rings on the mock up nose. Belgium August 2022

Audi F1 presentation with the rings on the mock up nose. Belgium August 2022

As Audi plot their 2026 arrival, the CEO of the company’s F1 project Adam Baker has named his “dream team” line up of Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso.

Audi will enter Formula 1 in 2026 as an engine manufacturer, but the German company will effectively be a works team with rumours claiming they will buy a stake in the Sauber F1 operation.

Audi have kept Formula 1 in the dark over those plans, saying back in August they’ll make that announcement sometime before the end of the year.

But while no one will be surprised if they name Sauber, Baker’s choice for his two drivers is a bit of a surprise.

Given that Audi is German, it was widely speculated they’d want a German driver – perhaps Mick Schumacher – behind the wheel.

Baker, though, wants an all-Spanish pairing.

Revealing he would “love” to sign Sainz, he told Mundo Deportivo: “It would be very good.”

And Alonso?

“The dream team!” he replied. “Of course we have that interest, but it is very difficult to think about what will happen in three years.

“We can dream but it would be speculating.”

Sainz will be 31 when Audi arrive on the grid with Alonso 45.

But as the latter, who is off to Aston Martin next season in a multi-year deal, has said he still wants a few more years on the grid, Mundo Deportivo points out he may be the perfect driver to work behind the scenes for Audi.

Carlos Sainz gets a congratulatory handshake from Fernando Alonso after taking victory. Silverstone July 2022.

Baker added: “There are still three and a half years left and there is time for there to be many changes in the driver market.

“We will have a program, a simulator and we will work with drivers for development, and this is important. It could be linked to a talent program or young drivers, but we will talk about it.”

Asked if he wants an experienced driver to lead the development, he said: “Now the driver works much more with the simulator and on the test bench. It will be very interesting to have a veteran driver and we are considering it.”

In the meantime Audi are hard at work on their engine development project.

“F1 is in a period of transformation,” Baker told Marca. “We want to be part of this change and use F1 as a communication platform to show our technological level

“We are already working on the engines.

“We trust that the change of regulations regarding engines and chassis for 2026 will allow us to be competitive from the beginning.”

Bagging a podium in the first season “would be good”, he added.

Read more: Toto Wolff thinks Audi, Porsche will make life ‘tougher’ for everyone else