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Audi aggressively targeting Sainz for 2025 – current Sauber line up set to be axed

German car giant is attempting to close a deal with a driver in the form of his life

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Audi is reportedly preparing to make a daring attempt to secure the services of its target drivers for 2025. 

The Audi F1 launch car at the launch of the team (Image Credit:@AUTOTODAYMAG on X)
The Audi F1 launch car at the launch of the team (Image Credit:@AUTOTODAYMAG on X)

Ferrari and customer team Sauber have experienced polar opposite fortunes so far in 2024. Ferrari has one race win courtesy of soon-to-be former driver Carlos Sainz and is a comfortable P2 in the standings behind runaway leaders Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

Sauber, by contrast, struggled in the early races. Crossed wheel nuts resulted in pit stops lasting over thirty seconds, while Zhou Guanyu qualified last for the last three consecutive rounds. The team is P9 in the standings, with only Alpine behind them.

Sauber is preparing to transition to Audi in 2026, and change is in the air. The poor results of Zhou Guanyu and F1 veteran Valtteri Bottas have reportedly not gone unnoticed by Audi, which is preparing for its first F1 venture.

As reported by crash.net, Blick states that Audi has decided to take advantage of Carlos Sainz’s sudden availability and stunning form. Audi has become the latest to be linked to securing Sainz’s signature. The Spaniard’s impressive run of results also links him to Red Bull and Mercedes, but none so far have yielded a contract.

Why would Sainz join Audi?

Audi’s takeover was completed earlier this year, and preparations for 2026 are well underway.  On paper, an alliance between the German car giant and Sainz would be a perfect partnership.

Sainz’s father, Carlos Sainz Sr, won the Dakar Rally driving for Audi and is closely linked to the car giant. His son racing for Audi’s F1 team would be a logical and ideal result for all involved.

According to the report from Blick, Sainz has become the target for Audi for next season. While racing under Sauber, it would bed in the Spaniard ahead of the full works Audi launch in 2026.

The Blick report states that a blockage to Sainz committing to Sauber Audi is pushing Sainz to sign a long-term contract, committing his future to Audi:

“Audi is pushing Sainz to sign a long-term contract. But the man with 186 races (three wins, 21 podiums) wants to continue winning in 2025.”

However, Sauber is so far behind the competition that Sainz would almost undoubtedly face a season at the back. Despite the concerns, Blick says Audi is continuing its courting of the Ferrari driver.

In this scenario, Zhou Guanyu would also be sensationally ousted from the team. In his place would be Nico Hulkenberg. The German is no stranger to Sauber, having raced for them in 2013. He and Sainz have worked together in the past, driving for Renault in 2018, though both left at the end of the year.

Hulkenberg remains under contract at Haas after returning to F1 with the American team last season. Blick states that any agreement to release the German from Haas“ is not a problem.”

 

Feature Image Credit: @ScuderiaFerrari on X

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