Nico Hulkenberg explains big Audi F1 move after Haas departure announced

Henry Valantine
Nico Hulkenberg in the garage in China.

Nico Hulkenberg will leave Haas to join Sauber in 2025, which will then become Audi the following year.

Nico Hulkenberg has talked up the “very special” chance of driving for Audi, following confirmation of his move to Sauber for 2025, with the team set to be taken over by the German manufacturer the following year.

Hulkenberg will depart Haas at the end of the season in another key piece of the F1 2024 driver market puzzle falling into place, with the German returning to the Hinwil-based team for a second spell on a multi-year contract, through its transition to Audi.

Nico Hulkenberg excited for ‘very special’ Audi F1 opportunity

Having impressed the entire paddock since his full-time return to the grid with Haas after a three-year stint largely on the sidelines, Hulkenberg has been snapped up to be one of Audi’s first representatives when they join the grid from 2026.

After being heavily linked with a move to the team, the move was made official on Friday morning, in what he described as a “unique opportunity” to join a factory team as it makes its way into Formula 1.

“I’m returning to the team I worked with back in 2013 and have fond memories of the strong team spirit in Switzerland,” Hulkenberg said of his return to the Hinwil-based team, which will morph into Audi in 2026.

“The prospect of competing for Audi is something very special. When a German manufacturer enters Formula 1 with such determination, it is a unique opportunity. To represent the factory team of such a car brand with a power unit made in Germany is a great honour for me.”

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Expanding further on the topic in a post on Instagram, Hulkenberg wrote: “It‘s a big project with high ambitions and a huge challenge, a challenge that I am very much looking forward to. The conversations with Andreas Seidl and Oliver Hoffmann were very trustful, characterised by a lot of appreciation and mutual understanding regarding the common goals.

“At the same time I would like to express a special thank you to the entire Haas F1 Team, especially Gene and Guenther, for placing their trust in me 1.5 years ago and making a comeback in F1 possible. I will do everything I can in the remaining 19 races to be as successful as possible.”

Sauber CEO Seidl, who is leading the team’s transition into the Audi project, added: “We are very pleased to welcome Nico back here in Hinwil from 2025 and to compete with him in Formula 1.

“With his speed, his experience and his commitment to teamwork, he will be an important part of the transformation of our team – and of Audi’s F1 project.

“Right from the start, there was great mutual interest in building something long-term together. Nico is a strong personality, and his input, on a professional and personal level, will help us to make progress both in the development of the car and in building up the team.”

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