Audi F1 land major new recruit as F1 2026 plans ramp up

Michelle Foster
The Stake F1 Team launch the Kick Sauber C44 at an event in London.

Sauber are sponsored by Stake

Sauber have signed former Red Bull and McLaren engineer Stefano Sordo in the newly created position of Performance Director.

Building up to Audi’s official takeover in 2026, Sauber have made several key signings in the last two years.

Sauber have signed Stefano Sordo as their Performance Director

The most notable of those have been Andrea Seidl, who joined from McLaren, to take up the role of Sauber’s CEO while, last September, James Key also joined from McLaren.

Sordo is the latest signing, joining the team after a stint as technical director for RLL Racing in IndyCar.

Reporting directly to Key, he brings a wealth of Formula 1 performance-based experience having previously worked at McLaren and Red Bull.

During his time at Red Bull, he contributed to the team’s run of championship victories from 2010 to 2013, before adding a race win to his tally during his stint at McLaren.

“The appointment of Stefano is an important step in the development of the structure of our technical department,” said Seidl.

“Stefano knows what a winning squad needs, brings a wealth of experience to the team and, with the different array of roles he played in the past, he is perfectly placed to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of our technical operations, and address what is required.

“We have a strong technical team in Hinwil, and Stefano’s appointment will help us to harness these skills and turn them into performance as we continue in this crucial time for our outfit, with the Audi F1 works team being readied for its debut.”

Nico Hulkenberg in, but who is out at Sauber?

👉The eight drivers out of contract at the end of the F1 2024 season

👉F1 2025 driver line-up: Who is already confirmed for the 2025 grid?

Sordo added: “I am delighted to join Stake F1 Team KICK Sauber and take on a role that will have a direct impact on unlocking the performance we already have within our company, and help it reach new heights.

“The team is at a crucial juncture in its history, with the start of the Audi adventure just around the corner, and I am looking forward to tackling the challenge that lies ahead.

“I am excited about what the future holds: the targets the team has set for itself are ambitious, but I see a lot of confidence from everyone within this organisation.”

Sordo will work with Nico Hulkenberg next season, Sauber having confirmed the German as one of their two drivers in a multi-year contract.

His team-mate has yet to be decided with rumours suggesting both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu could be out with Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon reportedly in the running.

The team is in no rush to decide with Alessandro Alunni Bravi saying: “I think there is not a deadline.

“We have anticipated a bit the market by signing Nico Hulkenberg, who is a really strong addition to our team, and fits properly into the long-term project of Audi in F1. Now we have the time to assess the very best options available.”

Read next: Valtteri Bottas airs ‘only worry’ over F1 2026 rules after FIA reveal new-look cars