Not Mick Schumacher: Audi’s top driver target revealed

Sauber is set to be taken over by Audi in 2026, with the company already looking at securing their preferred driver line up.

Audi are in the process of buying Sauber, with the company set to have majority ownership by 2026, with former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl having been brought in as the CEO of Sauber Motorsport to oversee the takeover.

While much is known about Audi’s plans to enter Formula 1, what is still not confirmed is who they will have behind the wheel, with several names already in the mix.

Valtteri Bottas, who currently drives for the team, has made it clear that he wants to continue with them beyond 2023, stating that he has “many more years to come.”

“I will stick around as long as I enjoy it and as long as I can still perform and have something to give to the sport. 

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“I can see that going for many, many years.

“I think it’s exciting that there’s a new manufacturer coming into F1 but 2026 is still quite far away. 

“We’ll see – you can ask me in one or two years!”

With the experienced Bottas thought to be a preferred option for the team, as he’s seen as a safe pair of hands to guide them in their first full season on the grid, his potential teammate could be either Mick Schumacher or Carlos Sainz, according to varying reports.

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As a German, Schumacher was initially thought as a clear choice for the team, as it looks to have a driver who shares the company’s nationality.

However, Swiss outlet Blick has reported that Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz is believed to be top of Seidl’s list of potential drivers.

Sainz is currently locked into his contract with Ferrari until 2024, having extended his partnership at the team last season.

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If the Spaniard was to jump to the new team, he could sign up for the 2025 season, playing a role in the team’s transition or stay with Ferrari for another season and move to Audi for its inaugural season as a Constructor.

“We are currently talking to many decision makers, drivers, team managers,” Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said recently.

Speaking to Der Spiegel, Duesmann revealed that “there have been no concrete discussions with Mick Schumacher regarding a commitment.”