There is still some time until the start of the 2026 season, but behind the scenes the German car manufacturer Audi is already working intensively towards the designated entry into Formula 1. No driver for the F1 project has been unveiled yet, but there are a few rumours. Mick Schumacher is also a topic about Audi again and again. But now it has leaked out that the subsidiary of the VW Group is looking elsewhere.
The Sauber team still drives on the world’s Formula 1 circuits under the Alfa Romeo name. From 2026, however, Sauber will be taken over by Audi. And the German car manufacturer has ambitious plans and wants to compete for podium places and titles as quickly as possible. In order to achieve this goal, those responsible are said to be already looking for suitable pilots for the project.
As the Swiss “Blick” reports with reference to Spanish media, Audi is targeting Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard is still tied to Ferrari until the end of 2024, but has to place himself behind Charles Leclerc in the hierarchy at Scuderia.
The 28-year-old would bring a lot of experience to Audi. Sainz has been active in Formula 1 since 2015 and has recently finished fifth in the drivers’ championship twice in a row.
Rather no Formula 1 comeback from Vettel at Audi
The son of two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz senior has completed 166 Grands Prix for Toro Rosso, Renault, McLaren and since 2021 for Ferrari. The Spaniard has 15 podium places and one victory (2022 in Silverstone) to show for himself.
According to the report, Sainz is at the top of the list for Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl. Seidl and Sainz know each other from their time together at McLaren.
In the German media, a possible comeback of Sebastian Vettel, who only retired at the end of 2022, has been discussed again and again as an Audi driver, should the four-time world champion long for a return. However, the probability of this is extremely low.
Otherwise, Mick Schumacher in particular was a hot candidate for a cockpit. After two years with Haas, the German is currently under contract with Mercedes as a reserve and simulator driver.
However, Schumacher’s chances don’t seem particularly good. Audi boss Markus Duesmann revealed in the magazine “Spiegel” that one is currently “speaking to many decision-makers, drivers, team bosses”. However, Duesmann added clearly: “There were no concrete discussions with Mick Schumacher regarding an engagement.”