F1: Bottas Reportedly on Chopping Block as Audi Eyes Sainz and Hulkenberg Duo for 2025

Audi is set to take over the Sauber F1 team for their 2026 Formula 1 debut, with Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg reportedly as top choices. Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu's futures are uncertain as they vie for positions.

By Divyam Dubey | on April 16, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

Recent speculation has indicated that Audi is actively pursuing Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz as their primary target drivers. In 2022, Audi announced their intention to join Sauber in Formula One by 2026, coinciding with the FIA's regulation changes regarding power units. They plan to gradually acquire the Swiss team leading up to the 2026 Formula One season. Currently, Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas occupy their driver lineup. However, multiple reports suggest that Audi will overhaul their lineup for the 2026 season. Sainz has been heavily linked with a move to Sauber for 2025 ahead of Audi’s arrival the following year, with rumours indicating the Spaniard is facing a deadline of the end of this month to accept the team’s proposal. The Sainz name holds significant ties to Audi in the motorsports industry, owing to Carlos Sainz Sr., who clinched victory in the 2024 Dakar Rally series as part of Audi's Rally squad.

F1: What's For Bottas and Zhou?

F1 Bottas And Zhou

Due to Audi's decision on how to trade Sainz and Hulkenberg, Bottas and Zhou are fighting for a spot. The Sauber Formula One team has encountered challenges at the start of the 2024 season. Notably, Valtteri Bottas's unfortunate pit stop in Melbourne eliminated his chances of scoring points, despite his strong performance at Albert Park. These operational errors have come at a cost for the Hinwil-based team, despite the C44 showing promising signs.

Although there is interest from Red Bull and Mercedes, Sainz remains the top priority due to the impending expiration of his contract with Ferrari next year. While the notion of joining a team currently ranked ninth in the constructors' championship may raise questions, the opportunity to be at the forefront of Audi's 2026 F1 debut with Sainz as its cornerstone is compelling.

Hulkenberg has been outspoken about the lack of progress at Haas, potentially leading to a transfer in the near future. His extensive Formula 1 experience and German nationality make him a natural fit for Audi. Considering his age, this could mark Hulkenberg's final significant contract. Audi is keen on engaging with both drivers, but if they fail to secure Sainz or Hulkenberg, Bottas or Zhou could be next in line.


Tags: F1 Audi Carlos Sainz Nico Hulkenberg

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