Eddie Jordan has warned Carlos Sainz that a move to Audi is no guarantee of success, quite the opposite in some ways, given the timescale required to get to the front of the grid.
While Audi are set to ramp up their majority takeover of Sauber ahead of their factory entry to Formula 1 from 2026, they hope to be competitive as soon as possible.
With Sainz linked to a move to the Hinwil-based team after Ferrari swooped for Lewis Hamilton from 2025, former eponymous team principal Jordan warned Audi would take some time to get up to speed when they do eventually enter Formula 1.
Carlos Sainz warned Audi face ‘uphill battle’ to the front of Formula 1
Audi are one of four teams believed to be interested in Sainz’s services, with Aston Martin, Mercedes and Williams also rumoured options for the Spaniard, but prior to the announcement of Hamilton’s 2025 arrival at Ferrari, Jordan was asked about Sainz’s prospects if he did choose an Audi move.
Speaking on the Formula For Success podcast about previous large manufacturers to enter Formula 1 and fall short of the mark they had set themselves, Jordan explained: “Everyone thought that Toyota with all the money and with all the expertise and everything that they could do, and that Honda had pulled out, so therefore there was a clear path for them.
“They were shocking, miserable. It was a real poor effort that Toyota did in Formula 1, and they scurried well out of it and they haven’t come back.
“The same, you could say, happened with BMW. I mean, [Robert] Kubica won a race, the quality of their engine at BMW is, for me, the best engine in the world, in terms of a road car basis, I just think it’s so strong and so good.
“But I would have thought that BMW and Toyota would come in with a huge bang. So therefore, you’re assuming that Audi are going to come back, just because they’ve won some various things in Le Mans and stuff like that.
“Now, I know, Allan McNish, who is a very close friend of yours [speaking to podcast co-host David Coulthard], we both love Allan and we wish him every success, whatever he’s doing there, and he is so smart, he will make sure that he has the right people around him.
“But I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a five-year plan to get Audi to even get close to winning a race, and I don’t care what driver they have in it.
“There’s a massive learning curve. I learned that, I realised how tough it was and I think that Audi, despite all the money that they’ve got, they have an uphill battle.”
Speaking to David Coulthard, he referred to Red Bull’s own journey to the front of the grid taking five years after their takeover of Jaguar following the 2004 season.
With a raft of high-profile appointments having been made at the same time, the building blocks were put in place and the team’s fortunes gradually improved until they won their first race in 2009 – as Jordan explained.
“Red Bull, let’s not forget, they had people like you there to help them along,” Jordan added while addressing Coulthard.
“They took over, if you like, the coals or the fire or the embryo of Jaguar, which was not a poor team, they were a strong team.
“Therefore, even them taking five years, and you know what money that Dietrich Mateschitz threw into that programme – and he acquired the best people.
“If you’re telling me Audi can come in and beat McLaren and come in and beat the likes of even Aston Martin perhaps, or Ferrari for that matter? Or anyone else? It’s going to be a big struggle.
“Look, it doesn’t happen that easy. I think there’s only six teams in the last 30 years that have won multiple Grands Prix, so that kind of makes it very concise, doesn’t it?
“It gives a big lead if you like to somebody like Red Bull and Ferrari and McLaren, Williams have to come back and who knows? They probably will come back.
“But you know, even when Prost came with the Peugeot originally and then afterwards with the Renault. I just think new teams on the way trying to compete against the existing teams, it’s a hard job.”