Ralf Schumacher believes that Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz is moving ever closer to a move to Audi.
Sainz to Audi rumours are nothing new but continue to stick around.
He was linked to a move to the German car company as early as April this year and although he later denied there was any truth in it, Schumacher has lit the touch paper once again.
Performing his punditry duties for Sky Germany during the Hungarian Grand Prix, Schumacher suggested the reported presence of Sainz’s father in the paddock was significant.
“These are things [reports of a move away] we are always seeing with Leclerc now,” Schumacher said.
“You get the feeling he [Sainz] has lost confidence in the team.
“Ferrari is a bit of a disaster at the moment.”
“I hear rumours that his father is in the paddock looking for an alternative. Carlos Sainz senior is close to the Volkswagen Group through his rallying and Audi needs a driver with experience when it comes to Formula 1 in 2026.
“At the same time, Carlos is not making a great impression. He can drive, but he makes too many mistakes too. His performances are very inconsistent.
“That’s not a good business card for his future.”
Both Ferrari drivers’ deals end in 2024 but while Leclerc’s negotiations seem to have begun, Sainz is still waiting.
Ahead of the race in Budapest, he suggested he would wait until the summer break before making any decisions but agreed with team boss Fred Vasseur that Ferrari had other priorities right now.
“I personally agree with Fred,” he told the media. “I think in Ferrari right now there’s much bigger priorities than sorting out the future of its drivers.
“Also, personally, with so many races consecutively, it’s not like you can stop for a minute and really think about your future and what you want to do and what do you see in the next two or three years happening for you. I think with so many back-to-backs, so many races, it’s difficult.
“I’m not going to lie, there’s the three-week break in August that I will start maybe thinking a bit what I would be happy with or whatever. And then the winter break, that I think is what I said in that interview a while ago, that it will be time to start figuring out where I will be racing in ’25.
“But going back to Fred, I fully agree, because in Ferrari there’s much bigger priorities, much bigger, more important things that we need to sort out in the short term. And that is my priority: to be competitive with Ferrari, not only this year, but also next year that I still have a contract in place and get next year’s car right and get it better than where we are now.”