Sainz denies rejecting offer to join Audi F1 team

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Sainz denies rejecting offer to join Audi F1 team

Carlos Sainz has denied reports that he rejected an offer to join Audi when the German manufacturer join F1 in 2026.

Audi will take over the current Sauber outfit, who have already confirmed Nico Hulkenberg as their first driver for 2025.

Sainz, who is being replaced by Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari for next year, is Audi’s first choice and they want the Spaniard to be team-mates with Hulkenberg from 2025.

Sauber’s current line-up of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu don’t have a contract for next year.

Asked whether reports in Spain that he had rejected an offer from Audi were true, Sainz said: “That’s not correct.

“There are certain things that don’t depend fully on myself and there will be some waiting to done but in the meantime, it’s not like we are completely stopped and we are still in conversations with people and advancing what we can advance.

“All of those things always include waiting on people to make up their minds in many areas.”

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Sainz playing the patience game

If Sainz joins Sauber in 2025, he will be reunited with Hulkenberg, after the pair were team-mates at Renault at the end of the 2017 season and in 2018.

Sainz made his F1 debut in 2015 at Toro Rosso, before joining Renault for over a year, then switched to McLaren for 2019 and 2020, and will have spent four seasons with Ferrari by the end of this year.

The Spaniard appears to be in no rush over which team he will join next, with Mercedes and Red Bull being other potential options, depending on Max Verstappen’s future.

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“The only assurance I have is that I want to take the right decision. That’s why it’s taking a bit longer and I want to see all of the options available before taking any decision,” said Sainz.

“I think Nico joining Audi makes complete sense for them and Nico. He’s a great driver and a great signing for them. I congratulate them, and him, because he’s been doing great at Haas too.”

Sainz: Volkswagen Group have won every time in motorsport

Audi are part of the Volkswagen Group, which have a history of success outside of F1 in other motorsport categories such as rallying and endurance racing.

Sainz’s father, Carlos Sainz Sr, won this year’s Dakar Rally with Audi at the age of 61, to become the oldest winner of the event.

“My dad will always say good things about Audi, the project and how confident he is Audi will make it to the top in F1,” said Sainz Jr, ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz of Spain, right, and his father Spanish rally driver Carlos Sainz Sr. wave after the MotoGP race of the Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Angel Nieto racetrack in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, Sunday, April 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)

Image: Carlos Sainz Jr on the right with his father Carlos Sainz Sr on the left

“If you follow the Volkswagen projects, every time they have been involved in motorsports, it doesn’t matter if it’s with Porsche, Audi or any of the Volkswagen Group, they have managed to win.

“I think that’s a very important asset and something very important to consider but in my decision, there are a lot more factors involved. I hope Audi, in the future, can fight for the win because it will mean one more car fighting for wins.

“I wish them the best, without having decided if they are a possibility for me or not.”

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Ferrari hoping to be closer to Red Bull

Sainz is the only non-Red Bull race winner from the last 18 months after he won the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix and this year’s Australian Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old is fourth in the drivers’ championship, seven points behind Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, but missed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to surgery on his appendix

Last time out in China, Ferrari failed to have a car on the podium for the first time this season but Sainz is confident they will be more competitive this weekend.

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“I think we will be a bit better here. Hopefully we will be closer to Red Bull compared to China, where we lost five to six-tenths per lap,” he said.

“I don’t expect an Australia because they brought an upgrade to Japan, which has made them a bit quicker.

“TBC with McLaren, with their upgrade. If McLaren didn’t bring an upgrade, we would be the same or ahead.

“With their upgrade, we are going to need to watch them. I think we will be in a very tight fight with them.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Miami GP schedule

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Managing partner of the 2024 Miami GP Tom Garfinkel tells Sky Sports’ Craig Slater the improvements they have made to the track and it’s surroundings to improve the experience for both competitors and spectators

Friday May 3
3pm: F1 Academy Practice 1
5pm: Miami GP Practice One (session starts at 5.30pm)
8.20pm: F1 Academy Practice 2
9pm: Miami GP Sprint Qualifying (session starts at 9:30pm)

Saturday May 4
3.25pm: F1 Academy Qualifying
4pm: Miami GP Sprint (race starts at 5pm)
6.30pm: Ted’s Sprint Notebook
7.05pm: F1 Academy Race 1
8pm: Miami GP Qualifying build-up*
9pm: Miami GP Qualifying*
11pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook*

Sunday May 5
6.05pm: F1 Academy Race 2
7.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Miami GP build-up*
11pm: Chequered Flag: Miami GP reaction*
Midnight: Ted’s Notebook*

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

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