Carlos Sainz Confirmed To Be Sauber’s Main Target For Audi F1 Era

Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz

Already having signed Nico Hülkenberg as their driver with a multi-year contract, Kick Sauber is in search to fill the second available seat, ideally to stay with them through the transition to Audi in 2026 and new regulations coming in the same year.

With many rumours going around, the Managing Director of the Sauber Group of companies and Team Representative of the Kick Sauber F1 Team, Alessandro Alunni Bravi said that “all the teams have a short list” of their candidates.

And it seems the Spanish driver, currently out of contract for next season and doing his last year with Ferrari, is on that list.

“Everybody knows that there is a top driver that is available in the market, it’s Carlos Sainz,” said Alunni Bravi. “I think that everybody, you know, would like to have Carlos on board.”

“He is one of the best drivers. He shows [himself] to be extremely mature, a good driver to develop the car, to drive the team for the development, but at the same time very consistent, very strong both in qualifying and race. And I think that Ferrari has one of the best pairs of drivers.”

This year, with six races behind us already, Carlos Sainz won the Australian Grand Prix and finished on the podium two more times in Bahrain and Japan, claiming P3 behind the Red Bull drivers in both cases. Currently, the 29-year-old is fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, having 83 points — the exact same amount as Lando Norris in fourth, the two friends kind of sharing the position right now.

Alunni Bravi continued: “But we know also that the drivers market is not depending just by ourselves. It is depending on different factors. And there are many teams that are discussing with drivers. And I think that there are several options for our team. And we will evaluate, but now that we announced Nico, there is no rush to make this choice. We are still at the very beginning.”

Asked about Sauber’s 2024 line-up, that being Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, he replied: “We are speaking with [Sainz] and other drivers. Also with our current drivers. But this is why we have no rush, because now we secured one of the two seats. Now we can have more time.”

“The decision is not an easy one. Because, of course, we have two good drivers that have been with us for three years that are performing well.”

Neither Bottas nor Zhou have yet scored a point this season, being 20th and 18th in the drivers’ standings respectively. However, it wouldn’t be fair to blame it only on them, because the team as a whole isn’t performing the best right now, having its challenges including very slow pit stops at the start of the year and being last out of all constructors currently.

“There is Carlos, there are other drivers, and we need to understand – because here we are taking a decision that is not just impacting 2025, but also the future of the Audi works team,” the Managing Director and Team Representative continued.

“So, I would say the duration of the contract, what could be the combination… the driver line-up is important. It is not just the decision of a single driver. And all the options are on the table, starting from our current two drivers and find [the one] that could fit into the overall project.”

In the last few days, some believed Carlos Sainz already got a multi-year deal from Sauber and Audi on the table and rejected it, but the Spaniard denied such claims. He and his camp made it clear he doesn’t want to rush the decision that will immensely affect the direction his career will take. Plus, there are certainly other teams interested in signing him, one of the most discussed being Red Bull or Mercedes.

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