Carlos Sainz set for Sauber move

Despite Ferrari signing the Spanish F1 driver to replace the increasingly erratic Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz has never been the team’s number one son nor the child with a Ferrari birthright.

The favoured one in Maranello is Charles LeClerc, whose Scuderia lineage hails back to 2016 when the Monegasque signed for the junior academy run by Maranello.



Sainz from the “Red Bull Academy” 

In stark contrast Sainz junior joined the academy of ‘the enemy’ back in 2010, when Helmut Marko spotted the prodigious talent racing in Formula BMW. Sainz was recruited into the Red Bull academy and debuted in Formula One alongside Max Verstappen in 2015.

Having failed to make the big Bull team following three seasons at Toro Rosso, Carlos left for an opportunity with Renault in 2018. But despite a strong second season with the French team he was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo and found a race seat with McLaren.

The Woking bromance that developed over 2 seasons with team mate Lando Norris proved to be not enough for Sainz to resist the call from Ferrari. The Spanish driver replaced Sebastian Vettel, who’s contract was not renewed, and began his Ferrari career in 2021.

Sainz surprised his critics and finished firth in the Drivers’ championship in his first year at Ferrari, two places ahead of the Ferrari darling Charles LeClerc.

Alpha Tauri renamed



LeClerc to replace Hamilton

Last year saw Sainz claim his first pole position and race win, though overall the season was a disappointment for the Spaniard. His six DNF’s contributed to a 62 point deficit to his team mate who finished three places ahead of him right behind F1 champion Max Verstappen.

With Ferrari’s early form this year being something to forget, Sainz is again on a roll and despite ‘being robbed’ by the Australian stewards of 12 valuable points, he leads the Ferrari charge at present with 20 of the team’s 26 points.

Carlos signed a two year extension to his deal with Ferrari last year which surprisingly leaves the team with both drivers out of contract come the end of 2024. This may come back to haunt the Scuderia particularly as their ‘chosen son’ LeClerc appears to be demotivated by the backward direction the team is moving along the grid.

LeClerc will have served six seasons with Ferrari come the end of next year and should Lewis Hamilton decide enough is enough ia switch to Brackley would be a natural move for the Ferrari driver to make given the Mercedes’ recent history of success.

Hamilton’s confusing complaints questioned



Ferrari poor contract timings

Ferrari may well find themselves with egg on their face given the news in Germany today that Carlos Sainz is now a target for the incoming Audi.

Audi have bought a quarter stake in the Alfa Romeo sponsored Sauber team and will increase that to majority ownership when Alfa’s team sponsorship deal concludes at the end of this year.

Whilst Audi’s full participation one Formula One is expected to begin fully in 2026 with their new fully built German power unit, it could be the team look to secure their driver line up in advance of this.

Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at AUDI AG, said yesterday: 



Audi F1 recruitment to hit 300

“The Audi Formula 1 project has really taken off in recent months. In the ongoing concept phase of the power unit, the foundation of our drivetrain for 2026 is being laid today.”

“We attach great importance to detail work, for example on materials or manufacturing technologies, and we also focus on topics such as the energy management of the hybrid drivetrain

“After all, efficiency is a key success factor for Formula 1 and the mobility of the future, [and] these approaches will advance both worlds.”

Audi has recruited over 220 people at its state of the art Neuberg facility where Hoffman reveals the team will grow to over 300 by the end of this year.

Race #4 coming to the USA



Sainz: “top of the list”

“Audi Neuburg was designed from the outset to be able to tackle the most demanding motorsport projects. This foresight is paying off. With the existing facilities, we were able to immediately begin with the Formula 1 project.

Of course Audi will retain the Sauber base in Hinwii Switzerland for the non-power unit based operations of their Formula One team. 

Peter Sauber founded the company which entered its first Formula One season in 1983 and has decades of knowledge and experience in building Formula One cars more often than not on a shoe string budget.

Roger Benoit, a Swiss F1 journalist close to Sauber, reveals in Blick today that Carlos Sainz is “at the top of the list” for Audi/Sauber to recruit. He further acknowledges the clamour from the German media to also engage the Mercedes’ reserve driver Mick Schumacher.

F1 Germany return



Sauber long Ferrari relationship over

Sauber has a long standing relationship with Ferrari having been an engine customer team for much of its history. The team have often blooded Ferrari academy drivers like Charles LeClerc before they are signed by Ferrari are let go form the junior programme.

Benoit believes Audi will look to experienced F1 drivers’ to launch its Formula One programme and to entice the likes of Carlos Sainz into the programme, the Sauber team may even be rebranded Audi in 2025.

At just 30 years of age, Sainz will still be hoping to secure a championship winning potential drive in F1 for 2025. 

Audi with their pedigree in motorsport together with the F1 regulation upheaval will be one of the better placed teams to offer the Spanish driver a realistic chance to yet become a Formula One world champion.

READ MORE: Ferrari slam FIA decision making

4 responses to “Carlos Sainz set for Sauber move

  1. In stark contrast Sainz junior began an academy academy began ‘the enemy’ back in 2010


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