Audi driver ‘target’ update issued as Carlos Sainz speculation continues

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, with Audi logo.

Carlos Sainz has been heavily linked with the arrival of Audi in F1.

With the Audi project very much in mind, Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi confirmed that they are targeting the “best available” driver pairing, with one half already set.

Sauber recently announced the signing of Nico Hulkenberg, who will make the switch from Haas in time for the F1 2025 campaign. But, Sauber still need to determine his team-mate for next season.

No ‘deadline’ as Carlos Sainz to Audi rumours continue

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

While Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu battle to remain with the team, with Esteban Ocon – set to depart Alpine after F1 2024 – also emerging as a contender, long-standing speculation has linked Carlos Sainz to the seat, as he plots his next move knowing Lewis Hamilton will replace him at Ferrari.

And speaking to media including PlanetF1.com at the Monaco Grand Prix, Alunni Bravi confirmed that the team wants “the very best drivers available” that can give the Audi era from 2026 some solid foundations.

“We say that we want to try to have the best pair of drivers available in the market,” said Alunni Bravi.

“It’s not just depending on our team. It’s depending, of course, on the availabilities, depending on many factors. We have seen that the market is quite fluid and each day we see in the press, you know, new names and new combinations.

“So I think the target is to have the very best drivers available for us for a long-term project like the Audi F1 team project.”

And with that target in mind, there is no sense of needing to rush to complete that driver line-up.

Asked if there is a deadline for a decision to be made, Alunni Bravi replied: “Not a deadline. We have a target that I think we need to try to find the very best option.”

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As for Sainz, his stance is comparable to Sauber’s in that he is not setting any deadlines for himself on determining his new home from F1 2025.

Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com, Sainz said: “I think everyone depends on everyone [in the driver market]. Formula 1 is a circle.

“I haven’t made my mind up yet and I don’t know I’m going to be racing next year. I also haven’t set any deadlines.

“I can establish that such it’s an important decision at this stage of my career that when I have options on the table I want to take the right one and think about it carefully because I’m about to turn 30 this year and I want to make the next project work and see how it goes.

“I’m going to give myself as much time as I need.”

Sauber are the only team still searching for their first point in F1 2024.

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