Valtteri Bottas tipped for the axe as Audi’s dream driver duo emerges in Germany

Audi are trying to pair their ideal driver partnership at Sauber in 2025

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Audi want to pair Carlos Sainz with Nico Hulkenberg as early as next season, with Sauber, reports from Germany indicate.

The German powerhouse Audi will enter F1 in 2026 when the new regulations come into effect.

Until then they will run as Sauber, but Audi are pushing to bring together their ideal driver partnership for 2025, a year before their official entry, German-Swiss publication Blick reports.

It means that Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou, both of whom are out of contract with Sauber at the end of this season, could lose their positions.

Convincing Sainz to put pen to paper is currently the big challenge.

Ferrari driver Sainz has clear links to Audi through his father, who won the Dakar Rally driving for the manufacturer.

Sainz is out of a job next year when Lewis Hamilton replaces him at Ferrari.

But his red-hot form - winning last year’s Singapore Grand Prix and this season’s Australian Grand Prix after returning from appendix surgery - means he is in-demand.

Yet, a drive with either Mercedes or Red Bull has not come to fruition yet.

Sainz “wants to continue winning in 2025” and that isn’t something that Sauber can assure him of, the report states.

But nevertheless Audi “is pushing” for Sainz to pen a “long-term contract”.

They want Sainz in their car alongside German driver Hulkenberg.

His agreement to leave Haas for Audi “is not a problem”, the report claims.

Hulkenberg, 36, has emerged as an under-the-radar talent this season after dragging Haas to two points finishes, and narrowly missing a third, from four grands prix.

He could now receive the opportunity to spearhead the entry of Audi, from his own home country of Germany.

Hulkenberg drove for Sauber for one season in 2013.

Sainz and Hulkenberg have also spent a season as teammates already, for Renault in 2018.

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