Nico Rosberg warns Carlos Sainz despite ‘great fit’ team being on the driver market

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

Nico Rosberg has given a word of warning for the prospect of Carlos Sainz joining Audi, despite his belief it would be a “great fit” for driver and team.

Sainz has been linked with multiple teams as his stint with Ferrari comes to an end at the conclusion of F1 2024, with his stock arguably having rarely been higher while on the Formula 1 grid, and Audi are widely believed to be pursuing his signature for when they arrive on the grid.

Carlos Sainz would be ‘starting all over again’ with Audi move – Nico Rosberg

Given Audi are taking over the Sauber team from 2026 with their own power unit already in development for Formula 1’s significant regulations reset, it’s currently unknown where the German marque would sit in the sport’s pecking order when they do arrive.

But with Sauber having historically been one of the smaller outfits on the grid, even though they have had seasons where they have outperformed larger rivals, it is widely thought that Audi might not be at the front immediately once they do join Formula 1.

With that, 2016 World Champion Rosberg believes Sainz could drive for any team on the grid and as Sainz has made clear, he wants to be in race-winning machinery.

So while a move to Audi might be a “great fit” in the long run, the former Mercedes and Williams driver admitted the Spaniard faces a tough choice regarding his next move.

“If you look at the driver market, Carlos fits in best everywhere,” Rosberg told Sky Germany.

“He would be the best for Mercedes and the best for Red Bull. Apparently Red Bull didn’t offer him enough money and wants to work for Mercedes.

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“You can’t offer him more than a year because you’re hoping for Kimi Antonelli, who is really an exceptional talent, after a year at the latest.

“Audi would be a great fit, but Audi for Sainz, he wants to win races now and he’s starting all over again. It’s a difficult decision.”

Fellow Sky analyst, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher agreed that Sainz has different options available to him, but talking specifically about the links with Red Bull, the six-time Grand Prix winner explained that there would be one key issue that might halt him from heading there.

“The question is whether Carlos Sainz wants to sit next to Max Verstappen,” Schumacher said. “There is also the financial factor.

“Due to Max’s relatively high salary, the budget is a little stretched and that means there are a few obstacles in the way.”

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