Audi will make their F1 debut in 2026 when the new power unit regulations come into play, taking over the existing Sauber - currently known as Alfa Romeo - team.

The German manufacturer will develop their own engine in Germany, while their chassis will be created in Hinwil, Switzerland.

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Audi want to sign an experienced development driver by the end of the year to test in the team’s simulator ahead of 2026.

“It may seem that our debut is far away, but we want to have a development driver by the end of 2023,” Baker said.

“It is very important to have someone who has experience to develop our new engine in the simulators we have in Neuburg.

“We are looking for experts in the field with previous experience in F1. It is the first time, since 2009, that a F1 engine has been developed in Germany and therefore if we want specialised personnel we must look in England, France or Italy.”

Who could Audi sign?

Sebastian Vettel

An experienced German is available… We have to mention Sebastian Vettel.

The four-time world champion decided to retire from F1 at the end of 2022, calling time on a legendary career in the sport.

Vettel was still performing at a respectable level in his final year in F1 with a handful of standout drives, nearly propelling Aston Martin to sixth in the championship.

He was confident that his decision to retire was a right one, but could he be tempted back, even as a development driver?

On paper, the role as development driver isn’t the most exciting given that it’s a case of spending time in the simulator, doing lap after lap, but given Vettel wants to spend time with his family and pursue other things, it could be a role that fits in with his new lifestyle.

Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica would fit the bill as Audi’s development driver.

He has a lot of recent experience acting as Alfa Romeo’s reserve and test driver - the team Audi are taking over.

Kubica would be the perfect fit.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Another option could be former Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi.

Giovinazzi spent three years with the Swiss-based outfit before being dropped by Zhou Guanyu for 2022.

The Italian's recent experience combined with his younger age - just 29 - compared to Vettel who is 35 and Kubica at 38 - makes him a solid candidate.

Daniil Kvyat

Dropped from AlphaTauri at the end of 2020, Daniil Kvyat completes our list.

The Russian spent 2021 as Alpine’s reserve driver before competing in NASCAR.

At just 28, Kvyat is the youngest candidate on our four-man shortlist but he has a wealth of F1 experience.

Kvyat made his debut with Toro Rosso in 2014 before being promoted to Red Bull for 2015.

He was dropped by Red Bull mid-season for Max Verstappen before returning to Toro Rosso for 2017.

He returned to Toro Rosso for 2019 and 2020.