Audi ’putting pressure’ on 2025 F1 driver market - Haas

"There are 14 drivers without a fixed contract for next year"


21 April 2024 - 16:50
Audi 'putting pressure' (...)

Haas looks set to lose Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the season.

Last year, the now-ousted team boss Gunther Steiner brought the 36-year-old out of retirement to replace Mick Schumacher - and he promptly shone.

It’s put long-time Haas driver Kevin Magnussen in difficulty, as new boss Ayao Komatsu told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet this week that a contract extension for the 31-year-old Dane is not yet a certainty for 2025.

There’s almost no doubt, however, that Haas would like to retain Hulkenberg.

"There is a team that is really putting pressure on the driver market at the moment," Komatsu admitted to Sky Deutschland in Shanghai.

That ’team’ is almost certainly the now 100 percent Audi-owned Sauber, who are also rumoured to have offered Carlos Sainz a lucrative three-year offer for 2025, 2026 and 2027.

Team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi doesn’t exactly deny it.

"There are 14 drivers without a fixed contract for next year," he said in China. "So we are speaking with different drivers.

"Let me just say that we are happy to play a different role in the driver market for the future thanks to Audi’s announcement and all the investment that will be done in order to improve our team," Bravi added.

"Finally we are attractive and we are not spectators - we are a player in the market."

Sauber incumbents Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou are also being forced onto the driver market at present, with Hulkenberg, Sainz and even Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel all linked with the 2025 seats.

2016 world champion Nico Rosberg thinks Hulkenberg would be the perfect choice.

"I would definitely recommend him to Audi at this point," he told Sky Deutschland in Shanghai. "He is a very, very good candidate for one of the cockpits, with a lot of experience. He would be a very good fit."

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