sainz f1 ferrari axed

Alunni Bravi: There is a top driver available, it’s Sainz

sainz f1 ferrari axed

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Stake Sauber group managing director and its Formula 1 team representative, singled out Carlos Sainz as the only top driver available on the market.

Sauber announced the first F1 driver that will effectively be part of their Audi transformation as Nico Hulkenberg who will join from Haas in 2025 in preparation for 2026.

But the Audi F1 project that starts in earnest in 2026 is still missing Hulkenberg’s teammate and the ambition is to secure the services of a top driver to spearhead the German Automaker’s F1 foray.

Ever since Sainz was released from Ferrari to make way for Lewis Hamilton in 2025, reports and rumors have linked the Spaniard with several teams starting with Mercedes – a direct swap with Hamilton – then Red Bull Racing, but the strongest links remain with Audi.

Helmut Marko revealed Audi have a “very lucrative” offer on the table for Sainz, and also admitted that Red Bull “can’t match or beat” that offer.

But is seems Audi are eager to lock Sainz in from 2025, while the driver prefers to wait beyond 2026 before committing to German F1 project to see how they perform.

During F1’s weekend in Miami, Sauber team representative was asked about his team’s plans for their second driver, with Hulkenberg now confirmed.

Quoted by Motorsport.com, Alunni Bravi said: “Everybody knows that there is a top driver that is available in the market, it’s Carlos Sainz. I think that everybody, you know, would like to have Carlos on board.

Sauber talking to other drivers, including their current ones

“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. 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 on 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.

“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,” the Sauber executive insisted.

Quizzed further about Sauber’s driver talks, Alunni Bravi added: “We are speaking with [Sainz] and other drivers. Also with our current drivers.

“But this is why we have no rush, because now we secured one of the two seats. Now we can have more time. The decision is not an easy one. Because, of course, we have two good drivers that have been with us for three years, that are performing well.

“There is Carlos, there are other drivers, and we need to understand – because here 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,” the Italian concluded.