Sauber Confirms Carlos Sainz as Top Target for Audi’s 2026 Formula 1 Entry

As the German automaker makes its inaugural foray into F1, the current Sauber team is poised to transform into the Audi works team.

Sauber has set its sights on Carlos Sainz as the leading driver target for Audi’s anticipated entry into Formula 1 in 2026.

As the German automaker makes its inaugural foray into F1, the current Sauber team is poised to transform into the Audi works team.

The team is already moving forward with securing their driver lineup sooner rather than later.

Currently, Sauber’s team consists of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.

READ: Adrian Newey to Depart Red Bull in 2025, Opens Door for Immediate Start with New Team

However, changes are forthcoming with Nico Hulkenberg set to join from Haas next season, replacing at least one of the existing drivers.

The interest in Sainz has been widely speculated within the racing community for months, and it has been known that discussions have been ongoing for some time.

This was finally confirmed by team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi in Miami, who openly acknowledged Sainz as Audi’s top target by stating, “Everybody knows that there is a top driver that is available in the market – it’s Carlos Sainz.”

Alunni Bravi emphasized Sainz’s desirability, noting, “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.”

Article continues below

Despite the focus on Sainz, Alunni Bravi clarified that no definitive decisions have been made regarding the final lineup, adding that both Bottas and Zhou still have the opportunity to secure their places on the team.

He elaborated, “And I think that Ferrari has one of the best pairs of drivers. 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.”

Furthermore, Alunni Bravi reassured that there is no rush to finalize these decisions, especially now that Hulkenberg’s arrival is confirmed, “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.”

READ: Guenther Steiner Launches Legal Battle Against Former Team Haas F1

He concluded by emphasizing the broader strategic considerations, “There is Carlos, there are other drivers… we are taking a decision that is not just impacting 2025 but also the future of the Audi works team.

“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.”