Carlos Sainz’s Audi contract ‘offer’ addressed in ‘huge amounts of money’ statement

Thomas Maher
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, with Audi logo.

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

Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl has weighed in on the rumours surrounding Carlos Sainz’s link to the Audi team.

With Audi entering Formula 1 formally in 2026, the German manufacturer has influence on the drivers the Sauber team will race with next season – including whether or not Carlos Sainz receives a contract offer, which Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko claims has happened.

Andreas Seidl addresses Carlos Sainz contract rumours

With Sainz a free agent on the driver market as the Spaniard seeks to find a new employer following his departure from Ferrari after this season, he has been linked heavily with a switch to the Sauber team as it morphs into Audi.

But Sainz is also said to be negotiating with Red Bull, having previously raced with the backing of the energy drinks giant before debuting with Toro Rosso a decade ago, as the cockpit alongside Max Verstappen remains unconfirmed for next season.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has jokingly branded Sainz as his team’s “nemesis” and has admitted the Spaniard’s form makes him worthy of evaluation, while Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko has stated Audi has already offered a big money contract to Sainz – one Red Bull can’t or won’t match.

While Horner has denied knowledge of the terms Audi has offered Sainz, Marko claims Sainz has been offered a long-term deal to join the German squad – reuniting him with former Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg after the current Haas driver was announced as joining the Hinwil-based squad from next season.

Speaking in a comprehensive interview with Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl addressed the rumours regarding Sainz, and didn’t deny that an offer has been made to the Spaniard.

“Our approach is clearly not to motivate drivers or other employees to come to us with huge amounts of money,” he said.

“We basically have the financial resources of a top team, but we really think about how we can use every franc or euro sensibly and efficiently. We want to attract people who want to be part of this journey and accompany Audi’s entry into Formula 1.” recommends

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Why Nico Hulkenberg was a prime target for Audi signing

With an experienced name signed already, might Audi be tempted into signing a riskier name for the second cockpit? After all, reigning Formula 2 Champion Theo Pourchaire is chomping at the bit for an F1 opportunity, with the Frenchman part of the Sauber Academy.

“It makes sense to have at least one pilot with experience because we have to overcome many challenges at once,” Seidl said of the team’s preferences when it comes to drivers.

“So there can be two experienced pilots or one with experience and a strong rookie. We are continuing to have discussions here, monitoring the market and of course the performance of Zhou [Guanyu] and Valtteri [Bottas].”

As for signing Hulkenberg and getting that boxed off early, Seidl said it is important to Audi to get experience on board as early as possible as the transition from Sauber to Audi gets underway in earnest.

“It is clear that, given the current level of performance, it is absolutely important for us to have the best possible driver pairing at the start,” he said.

“It also makes sense that our future driver squad from the Audi works team will be in the cars as early as 2025 to support the project from the start. The drivers can also help us in terms of team motivation and development direction.

“Therefore, Nico is a top choice. There is no question that he is fast. With his experience, his teamwork and his great technical understanding, he brings what we need.”

As for whether Audi might set up its own driver academy once in F1, Seidl confirmed there is potential to hone its own talent over time.

“That’s a topic we’re looking at at the moment,” he said.

“Examples from the recent Formula 1 past show that this can be a good investment. But there is nothing concrete yet.”

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