New driver appears on Audi F1 radar if dream Carlos Sainz signing fails – report

Henry Valantine
A close-up shot of Carlos Sainz with a prominent Audi F1 logo alongside him

Carlos Sainz has been heavily linked with a move to Audi

A report has claimed that, if the Audi F1 operation cannot land Carlos Sainz, then Pierre Gasly may be an alternative signing for them.

Nico Hulkenberg has already been signed for the move across to Sauber next season on a multi-year deal that will straddle the transition to Audi for 2026, but that leaves one seat available.

Could Pierre Gasly be an option for Audi F1?

A report from Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that, should Audi not sign Sainz, as has long been their stated aim for the start of their Formula 1 plan, then current Alpine driver Gasly is being weighed up as an option due to his apparent dissatisfaction with how his team are performing on track.

Alpine started the season with the slowest car on the grid and, while they have made in-roads, Esteban Ocon scored the team’s only point of the year so far last time out in Miami.

With both Gasly and Ocon out of contract at the end of the season, Gasly explained that he is looking at his next contract with the new regulations in mind – with both Formula 1’s chassis and power unit changing at the same time in 2026.

“I think [the] big picture is we know that car is not well born, and it does happen that some years you get it right, and some years, you just get it wrong,” Gasly said in Miami when discussing the season so far and in response to a question about where his future may lie.

“And I think the most important [thing] is how we are able to react from it. So I’m aware that it does take some time. I can’t expect a massive change in a very short space of time, but I feel like we’ve got enough data now to really spot what’s working and what’s not.

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“Then it’s a matter of how we tackle it, because you’re almost in May, obviously looking at this current season and what’s achievable, what’s possible for next year, and at the same time, ‘26 as well, which is going to require a lot of work and a complete new car.

“So there is quite a lot to consider, but I can see all the processes that goes at the factory and, at the end of the day, I’m aware it’s going to take time, but it’s important we do react and not stay with what we’ve got at the minute, which is not competitive enough.”

On whether or not the 2026 power unit programme is playing into his decision-making, he added: “That would be silly not to [look at it].

“I mean, it’s obviously something that is very important, especially at the minute, looking at the future and making sure that I am in a position to be in a competitive car.

“So obviously, I see the progress and it doesn’t take any focus that I have right now, which is to make the best out of what we’ve got today, but it’s obviously something I’m looking from a close eye at the factory.”

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