Sauber-Audi hint at huge driver signing amid Carlos Sainz rumours

Sauber are one of three teams yet to score an F1 point in 2024 ahead of the Chinese GP but could make a significant driver signing for 2025

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Sauber‘s Audi investment is allowing them to become a player in the 2025 driver market rather than just spectators according to managing director Alessandro Alunni Bravi, with the team heavily linked with a swoop for soon to be former Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

With Fernando Alonso now locked down at Aston Martin, Sainz is the biggest-name free agent on the market for 2025 after Ferrari replaced him with Lewis Hamilton, with both of Sauber‘s drivers out of contract at the end of 2024.

Alunni Bravi thinks his team are enjoying their new position of power as they weigh up driver options for the future, with Audi taking over as title sponsor of Sauber from 2026.

“There are a lot of speculations around our teams and comments,” Alunni Bravi told members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“I don’t want to comment on speculation because we are focussed on this race weekend but there are 14 drivers without let’s say, a contract fixed for next year.

“So as all the teams, we are speaking with different drivers. It’s not the time for us to take any decision, it’s time to provide our drivers with a performing car, but we are happy that it seems that we can play a different role in the driver market for the future thanks to Audi and all the investment that will be done in order to improve our team.

“So I think that is good news for our team is that finally we are attractive, and we are not the spectators, we are player in the market.”

Sauber focussed on car performance first, drivers second

Valtteri Bottas during 2024 Japanese Grand Prix | Sauber F1 Team
Valtteri Bottas during 2024 Japanese Grand Prix | Sauber F1 Team

Pit stop problems have hamstrung Sauber so far in 2024, with the team one of three that are yet to score a point in the constructors’ championship.

Valtteri Bottas, who suffered an engine failure at the Chinese Grand Prix, is out of contract at the end of this year, as is teammate Zhou Guanyu. However, Alunni Bravi stressed Sauber are focussed on the track for now.

“I don’t comment about speculation. I think they are mere speculation because, every driver I think is speaking with a lot of teams to understand the situation, to understand if there could be, common vision on the project, especially for a team like us that is in full transformation process,” Alunni Bravi added.

“But we are focused on our driver and we respect our driver, we know that we need to deliver better performance as a team and this is the first step to start deciding what will be the driver lineup for the future.

“First, we need to consolidate our performance so I think that the main target and the priority for the team is start scoring points, and then to approach the drivers market, starting with discussion with our drivers and then having open eyes on the market.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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