Carlos Sainz to ditch Ferrari and join Audi after ‘losing confidence’

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari deal expires at the end of 2024, with no extension having yet been discussed.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes Carlos Sainz is close to joining Audi for 2026, when the German manufacturer joins the sport.

Audi will be fielding a works team in 2026, at which point they will have acquired 75% of Sauber’s F1 outfit.

Sainz has been linked with the new team all season so far, with it being a rumour that simply won’t disappear.

The Spaniard has denied the speculation himself, but Schumacher insists that a move could be on.

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Sainz’s father, Carlos Sainz Snr, has very close ties with the Volkswagen Group who own Audi, making Schumacher think that something could happen.

Schumacher also believes Sainz has “lost confidence” in Ferrari, another reason as to why he may look to switch teams when his deal expires perhaps as soon as the end of next season.

“These are things [reports of a move away] we are always seeing with Leclerc now,” Schumacher said on Sky Germany.

“You get the feeling he [Sainz] has lost confidence in the team.

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“Ferrari is a bit of a disaster at the moment.”

Schumacher added: “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.”

Sainz is currently contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2024, with an extension yet to be discussed.

It’s been a disappointing season so far for the 28-year-old, mostly due to Ferrari’s struggles.

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Sainz has finished eighth and 10th in the last two races, purely because of Ferrari lacking the race pace to compete with Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes.

Remarkably, Sainz is actually the top Ferrari driver in the standings currently, as he sits seven points ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc.

The Spanish driver is sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, whilst Leclerc is seventh ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend.