Carlos Sainz handed blow as Pierre Gasly joins Audi’s wish list

Pierre Gasly is one of several drivers who Audi are rumoured to be closely monitoring ahead of 2026.

Ahead of their 2026 Formula 1 arrival, Audi have reportedly added another driver to their wish list.

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly is the latest driver to be of interest to the German manufacturer, who will complete their 75 per cent takeover of Sauber the year the new power unit regulations are introduced.

Sauber will become an Audi works team, with the Volkswagen-owned manufacturer supplying their own power units.

Several drivers have been linked to the new side, including Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Williams’ Alex Albon and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.

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Sainz is rumoured to have signed a pre-contract with Audi, although the general belief is that it’s not legally binding.

This gives him an option if Ferrari insist on only giving him a one-year contract extension for 2025, which is currently looking likely.

Albon joining Audi looks unlikely, with F1 journalist Edd Straw having revealed that the Germans are interested in Williams’ star driver.

According to RacingNews365, Hulkenberg is Audi’s top target, and would fit the side’s rumoured desire to have at least one German driver.

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Hulkenberg is contracted only until the end of this season, so it’s definitely a possible move.

Even Gasly’s teammate Esteban Ocon has been suggested as a good option for Audi, with Lawrence Barretto noting that Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl is monitoring the Frenchman.

Both Alpine drivers are out of contract at the end of this year, as are both Sauber drivers.

As a result, if a driver can negotiate a two-year contract with the Hinwil-based side, then they’ll be in the team ready for Audi’s arrival.

Gasly is an interesting option, considering that he’s still just 27 years old and has proven to have strong pace at times.

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Any driver interested in Audi will need to deliver this year, as the German giants will be watching closely.

It’s Gazzetta dello Sport who reported that Gasly is a driver on their radar, something which might concern Alpine.

Alpine presumably won’t want to lose both drivers and will be keen to avoid either of them being heavily involved in silly season, especially after they have only just recovered from losing McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.