Carlos Sainz to Audi? Former Ferrari chief warns of major risk with potential F1 2025 move

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of Carlos Sainz with a prominent Audi logo alongside him

Carlos Sainz has been heavily linked with a move to Audi

Former Ferrari sporting director Cesare Fiorio has warned Carlos Sainz that he risks writing off the entire F1 2025 season if he decides to lead Audi’s F1 project.

Despite losing his Ferrari seat to Lewis Hamilton for 2025, Sainz’s reputation in F1 has arguably never been stronger after a number of fine performances over the last 12 months.

Carlos Sainz to Audi? Ferrari man highlights Sauber F1 2025 sacrifice

The Spaniard is the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race since the start of the 2023 season and collected his third career victory at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Sainz has been heavily linked with a move to Sauber – set to be rebranded as Audi in 2026 when the German manufacturer arrives on the grid – for next year, with seats also available at Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin as things stand.

Speaking to Italian publication FormulaPassion, Fiorio has expressed his regret that Sainz is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season, claiming the team should have stopped to consider the qualities he brings to the team before dropping him for Hamilton.

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He said: “Sainz was once again the driver who, so far, has led Ferrari to victory in the last two years. I would have thought twice before parting with him.

“Not that Lewis Hamilton is not a great driver, on the contrary, he could bring a lot of knowledge to Ferrari, but Sainz is very strong.”

A switch to Sauber for 2025 would see Sainz swap a race-winning car for one of the slowest on the grid, with the Swiss outfit one of three teams – along with Williams and Alpine – yet to score a point this year.

Fiorio understand why Audi – whose F1 entry is being overseen by Andreas Seidl, Sainz’s former team principal at McLaren – would be keen to sign Sainz ahead of their 2026 arrival.

However, he believes the team’s current lack of competitiveness would see Sainz write off any hope of a productive 2025.

He said: “I think Audi wants to have Carlos Sainz as a top driver, a sort of beacon to guide the arrival of this great constructor in F1.

“The problem is that 2025 would definitely be a ‘lost’ year.”

Fiorio’s comments come after Martin Brundle, the Sky F1 commentator, urged Sainz to avoid “treading water” by committing to Audi, insisting the Spaniard must aim to join a more established team with immediate victory hopes.

He said: “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. 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 or going back to Red Bull.”

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