Carlos Sainz landing spots: No. 2 - Audi
While Audi won't officially be Audi until the 2026 season, all signs point to the team needing to make a blockbuster signing for the 2025 season, rather than the 2026 season, in order to land the driver (or drivers) they want to lead the factory program, given how many drivers are currently seeking new contracts for next year and beyond.
The rumor linking Carlos Sainz Jr. to Audi has been circulating for probably close to a year now, and it makes a lot of sense. Sainz has already competed for four teams in the first nine years of his career (and competed for all four within a five-year span at one point), so a change in organizations would be nothing new.
With Charles Leclerc now under contract with Ferrari for the long run, the 29-year-old Spaniard may feel that he needs to go elsewhere in order to truly be treated as a team's lead driver. After beating Leclerc in 2021, he fell short in 2022, and after leading for pretty much the entire 2023 season, he ultimately fell behind in the season finale.
It's clear that Ferrari still plan to build around Leclerc. Is re-signing Sainz what both parties want?
To be the face of the Audi project would be a unique opportunity, and while no two situations are ever alike in Formula 1, we all saw what happened when Lewis Hamilton made a risky move to Mercedes that pundits thought would sink his career. At this stage in Sainz's career, he might as well take the risk.