Carlos Sainz’s father has confirmed he has “exchanged views” with the Ferrari star as rumours persist over a potential move to Audi.
Sainz has long been rumoured to be a target for Audi ahead of the German manufacturer’s F1 entry in 2026, with the automotive giant poised to take over the existing Sauber team.
Andreas Seidl, Sainz’s former team principal at McLaren, was appointed Sauber’s chief executive last year and is charged with smoothing the path for Audi’s F1 arrival.
Carlos Sainz Sr sings Audi praises amid F1 rumours
Sainz Jr enjoyed arguably the strongest season of his F1 career in 2023, becoming the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race by triumphing from pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix.
However, the 29-year-old’s future is uncertain with his current Ferrari contract due to expire at the end of 2024.
Reports over recent months have indicated that Sainz is pushing for a two-year extension to his deal, with the team preferring to keep their options open should the likes of Lando Norris, Sainz’s former McLaren team-mate, become available.
The Sainz family’s links to Audi only increased last week when Sainz Sr, the two-time World Rally Champion, claimed a fourth Dakar Rally victory behind the wheel of an Audi.
Following his historic success, the 61-year-old spoke optimistically about Audi’s F1 preparations – and admitted that he has talked to his son about being involved.
According to Spanish publication Motor.es, he said: “Audi, I think, is a guarantee.
“I know very well how seriously they take every project and I know very well what the German mentality in the world of motoring entails, with its advantages and certain disadvantages.
“For [a] Volkswagen Group [brand] like Audi, you have to respect them. We all know that F1 is a bit of a special world, but I have a lot of respect for Audi.
“I think it will only be a matter of time [before they succeed in F1]. I don’t have a crystal ball, but if Audi has all my respect and I think they are also putting all the ingredients in place for it to be a good project.
“As you would expect at Carlos’ place, with me being part of the Audi family, it’s logical that we talk and exchange views on what the Audi team can be in the future.”
Sainz Sr went on to explain how he has transmitted his competitive spirit to his children, stressing the need to set the right example during Sainz Jr’s rise up the racing ranks.
He said: “In the family, I like to lead by example. With my son and my daughters I have tried to be consistent.
“And above all – if you talk about the competitive gene – with Carlos I have tried to transmit to him how I understood the world of competition, racing, what was right, what was wrong.
“When it’s your turn to do what you have to do and your son, in this case, sees that you don’t do it, it’s just not right.
“I’ve tried to set an example and say: If I tell you that you have to do this, I have to do it myself.'”