Martin Brundle sends firm message to Carlos Sainz over Audi F1 switch

Jamie Woodhouse
Carlos Sainz and the Audi logo on a Formula 1 rear wing.

Carlos Sainz and the Audi logo.

Former F1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle has warned Carlos Sainz that Audi is definitely not the right destination for him beyond his Ferrari career.

Having hoped to resolve his future in the very early stages of 2024, Sainz is instead on the lookout for a new home on the Formula 1 grid after this year, following the shock news that Lewis Hamilton is heading to Ferrari come 2025 at Sainz’s expense.

Understandably Sainz, the only non-Red Bull grand prix winner of 2023, is a driver expected to be in demand and has been linked with the likes of Mercedes in something of a straight swap with Hamilton, or perhaps even a sensational return to the Red Bull stable.

Martin Brundle: Carlos Sainz cannot afford to ‘tread water’ at Audi

And Brundle stressed Mercedes and Red Bull are the type of teams Sainz must be looking to land in, rather than taking a leap of faith into the unknown with Audi.

The German automotive giant will join the grid in 2026 as Sauber morphs into the Audi works team, though technical director James Key has said it will be 2027 before Audi are the “final product”.

Brundle does not believe Sainz, despite his father’s strong relationship with Audi after their 2024 Dakar Rally win together, can take the risk of heading for Hinwil.

“He’s 29 years old, he can’t afford to go and tread water for a team that really is saying it’s 2027 before we’re ready to go properly,” Brundle insisted.

“No, no, no, I don’t think that is his next step at all. He’s got to be looking at Mercedes or an Aston [Martin] or going back to Red Bull.” recommends

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While he knows already that F1 2024 will be his final Ferrari season, Sainz has promised to remain a team player, even if Brundle says there has to be a sense of “team Carlos” in the Spaniard’s mindset.

And rather than feeling the pressure of driving to secure a future seat, Brundle says Sainz can instead “let his talents flow” in the upcoming season and drive “more naturally, more freely, more easily”.

“I think in a way he can be a free spirit and just let his natural talents flow now,” said Brundle.

“He’s driving for a team Carlos to an extent, but being the team player that he is, he was straight back in and going, ‘I’m a Ferrari man until the last lap of the last race’ sort of thing.

“But I think sometimes you know, when the pressure comes off like that, and you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, and I had it myself in my own career a couple, three times, you just drive more naturally, more freely, more easily.”

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