Christian Horner contradicts Helmut Marko’s Carlos Sainz ‘lucrative deal’ inside info

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz and the logos of Audi, Red Bull and Mercedes alongside him

Could Carlos Sainz reject an offer from Audi to pursue opportunities at Red Bull and Mercedes?

Despite Helmut Marko claiming Audi offered Carlos Sainz a “very lucrative” deal, one Red Bull cannot match, Christian Horner says he has no idea what Audi have put on the table as it would be “improper to disclose” that.

The star of the F1 circus in his final season as a Ferrari driver, Sainz has been linked to almost every team that has an open seat for the 2025 championship, including Red Bull.

Christian Horner: It would be improper to disclose what offers are made

However, the team’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko all but quashed that when he revealed to Kleine Zeitung that while Red Bull have been “talking” with Sainz, the Spaniard has been made a “very lucrative offer from Audi that we can’t match or beat.

Horner was asked about that during Friday’s FIA team boss press conference in China and contradicted Marko in that he says Red Bull have “no idea if and what” Audi may have put on the table for the 29-year-old.

“At this point in time, we’re very happy with the line-up we have,” he said. “So there’s no imminent rush to announce drivers, the full line-up for 2025.

“As far as other drivers, I mean, it’s pure speculation, we have no idea if and what Audi have offered Carlos, who is a key driver that’s on the open market.

“It’s only natural that there’s going to be significant interest and I’m sure Audi would be foolish not to consider a driver of his quality, amongst others that have seats available.

“But it would be improper to disclose what offers are made. That’s something that’s not been disclosed to us as to what offers have been made from other teams.”

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Audi: We don’t want to be part of a game that is done by others

As for Audi’s side of the equation, Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi would not reveal whether or not the Hinwil team had made Sainz an offer.

Instead, he says the team, which will become Audi in 2026, today are solely focused on improving their C44 which has yet to score a single point.

“I don’t comment about speculation,” he said, adding that the Sainz stories are “mere speculation.

“Every driver is speaking with a lot of teams to understand the situation, to understand if there could be a common vision on the project, especially with a team like us that is in full transformation process for 2026.

“But we are focused on our drivers, and we respect our drivers. We know that we need to deliver a better performance as a team. And this is the first step to start deciding what will be the driver line-up for the future.

“First, we need to consolidate our performance. So far, we haven’t scored points so I think that’s the main target. The priority is for the team to start scoring points and then to approach the drivers market, starting with a discussion with our drivers and then having, of course, open eyes on the market.

“It’s not appropriate to discuss or to disclose a discussion. No one really knows what other teams are offering to the drivers or discussing with the drivers. And sometimes, you know, we don’t want to be part of a game that is done by others.

“So, let me focus on this race, and I think that the car performance now is our priority and there will be time to take the right decision for the future.”

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