Red Bull F1’s Helmut Marko: Audi Have Offered Carlos Sainz Three-Year Deal

While it hasn’t been a closely held secret that Audi Sport hopes to sign Carlos Sainz Jr. to its F1 effort, some further details have dropped this week confirming further details about the offer that is apparently on the table. Interestingly, the source of those details is from the F1 dominating Red Bull team.

Why Red Bull? Well, Sainz is currently set to leave Ferrari at the end of the season when Louis Hamilton heads over to the Italian team. Red Bull and Mercedes-Benz are also rumored to be courting Sainz Jr., giving the spaniard options though frustrating the likes of Red Bull who has another factory suitor for the driver it seeks.

Speaking with OE24, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko shared, “Look: Sainz is currently driving in a great form (and is put out the door by Ferrari at the end of the year, i.e. Red.). I think he has a very great offer from Audi over three years, but he has to decide there relatively soon. On the other hand, we will not decide soon, we will not be put under pressure by such things. But of course you sort.”

Now, Marko could be repeating rumors, though given Red Bull is also believed to be courting Sainz, it could also very well be fact. That Audi would court the Spanish driver as a lead makes sense. Carlos has shown strong pace this year for Ferrari, and his back history with the brand and his father’s Dakar win doesn’t hurt either.

Interestingly, Audi is also said to be courting the Haas team driver Nico Hulkenberg. Sauber approached the 36-year old German driver last season, and he’s got a history at the Volkswagen Group with a 2015 Le Mans victory for Porsche at Le Mans. Would he make a good second driver with Sainz as lead?

Whatever either driver decides, both will be contending with the fact that Sauber won’t shift to Audi F1 until 2026. That means the 2025 season will still be running the current Stake F1 car with Ferrari sourced engine, a setup that hasn’t demanded a strong place in the field. That may be worth the gamble for Hulkenberg coming from Haas. For Sainz, who’s also courting two of the strongest teams on the grid in Red Bull and Mercedes, this could be a much harder decision to make.

While Audi Sport will no doubt be pushing hard when they finally take the grid in 2026, nobody is expecting them to hit the ground running so fast as to beat the existing F1 top runners. Building up to a dominant position could take years.

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