Audi F1 discuss 2026 driver line-up criteria amid Mick Schumacher links

Sam Cooper
Mick Schumacher Mercedes seat fitting. Photo courtesy of Mercedes

Mick Schumacher Mercedes seat fitting. Photo courtesy of Mercedes

The CEO of Audi Formula Racing GmbH has said driver recruitment will be focused on ability rather than nationality following links with Mick Schumacher.

While Audi’s F1 debut is still three years away and the time to seriously narrow down drive candidates has not arrived, that does not stop many from speculating who could be lining up for the first time an Audi car hits the grid.

As is often the case when a new team arrives into F1, it is natural to think a driver from their home country could be favoured, which is why the name of Mick Schumacher has been linked with Audi.

The Mercedes reserve driver, who spent two years at Haas before being replaced by fellow German Nico Hülkenberg, is said to be among the candidates but Audi AG CEO Markus Duesmann said in March that no “concrete discussions” had been had with the 24-year-old.

“We are currently talking to many decision makers, drivers, team managers,” Duesmann told Der Spiegel. “There have been no concrete discussions with Mick Schumacher regarding a commitment.

“Of course, German drivers interest us as much as they interest the top of the parent company, but that is not a requirement for us.”

Adam Baker, CEO of Audi Formula Racing GmbH, spoke in similar terms, stating that it was more important to have a highly skilled driver rather than prioritise someone’s place of origin.

“With the first race being three years away, it’s too early to talk seriously about drivers,” he told “But the interest in that topic is obviously there.

“But any decision that does get made for race drivers will be made primarily based on performance. That’s the highest priority.”

As well as their works team, Audi will also run as a power unit supplier for 2026 but said there has been no talks with other teams about potential customer contracts.

“We obviously can’t rule out supplying a customer team as we are required to do so by the regulations,” Baker said.

“But with six manufacturers now being registered for 2026 obviously, the chances are small. We’re not currently actively seeking a customer.

“Our focus is really on the works partnership with Sauber.”

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