Audi F1 will only sign a driver who commits to the long term

At a time when Only the seats of the teams at the bottom of the table in Formula 1 are at stakethe conflict between drivers who want flexibility and teams who crave a long-term commitment is coming to the fore. Carlos Sainz remains the blocker in the entire market, despite the fact that he still has the options of Sauber/Audi and Williams, with the novelty of the Alpine bet after the Flavio Briatore is hired as an advisor.

That led the Spaniard to postpone his decision, which is not going down particularly well in Grove. Alongside him are Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas, who are competing for the free spaces in those teams and in Haas, without leaving behind a Guanyu Zhou who also hopes that everything can be resolved and he will have a new opportunity in the Grand Circus.

Carlos Sainz’s indecision is due to the fact that none of the three options seem the most attractive coming from a place where he could win races at Ferrari, since He wants the flexibility to be able to change teams once it is clear who is fast under the technical regulations that will come into force in 2026.something that everyone wants and includes in their contracts.

However, with Audi, Williams and Alpine looking for loyalty and long-term commitment to turn their teams aroundthe drivers who are willing to sign on a long-term basis are starting to look more attractive than the Spaniard. For the brand with the four rings, such a long-term partnership is even more important, as they know that they might not hit the mark with their new power units, so they need a patient mindset alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

“If it was an easy situation for everyone, we would have already closed the driver market in February,” said the Sauber director, Alessandro Alunni Good“From the drivers’ point of view, everyone would like to see what happens in 2026, and the teams want to ensure long-term stability and not change drivers.”

“We have always said that we want to start in 2025 with the driver line-up that will be that of the official Audi team. We don’t want to change after one year, it’s important for us,” he said. “We put on the table who we are, where we want to be and what we are doing to achieve that goal. There is a long way to go together.”

“We should be happy to make this journey, including ups and downs, especially in the first period, but nobody should underestimate the impact that Audi will have on Formula 1 in 2026,” he said.

For someone like Valtteri Bottas, who is keen to secure his long-term future as soon as possiblethat groundwork could help him secure a seat at Audi or elsewhere, even if he was not the first name on the list to fill any of the remaining seats.

“I hope so. I have made sure in the discussions that I want clear objectives for the next few years, a clear project that I can be part of and work on together,” he said. “I am willing to commit and I have my priorities in order, I hope that will put me in a strong position.”

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