Red Bull admit they "cannot match or beat" big-money Audi offer to Carlos Sainz

Helmut Marko has given an update on Red Bull's talks with Carlos Sainz ahead of a potential move for 2025.

Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant (Left) with Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari (Right). Formula 1 World
Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant (Left) with Carlos…

Helmut Marko says Red Bull are “talking” to Carlos Sainz about a potential move for 2025 - but revealed they won't be able to “match” Audi’s “lucrative offer”.

Sainz is still without a drive for the 2025 F1 season with one less option on the table after Fernando Alonso’s new Aston Martin deal was announced last week.

The Spaniard remains linked to Red Bull - should they decide to replace Sergio Perez - and Mercedes - as an alternative to protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Audi looks set to be Sainz’s most likely option though given they are keen to replace both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.

Speaking to the Kleine Zeitung, Marko confirmed talks with Sainz have taken place while detailing a major offer from Audi.

"We are talking to him, he is having his best season in Formula 1, but he has a very lucrative offer from Audi and we cannot match or beat that,” Marko said.

“We remember him from his time at Toro Rosso when he drove alongside Max. However, it hurt him a lot that at Red Bull, we chose Verstappen and not him.”

Sainz’s chances of joining Red Bull may come down to the form of Perez.

Perez has finished second in three of the opening four races, making it another strong start for the Mexican.

More impressively, Perez was within a tenth of Max Verstappen’s pole time at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Preparation
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5,…

While Perez did finish 12 seconds off the lead, it was a notable improvement at a circuit he performed terribly at in 2022.

Marko conceded that if Perez’s good form continues then he will be the “best option” for Red Bull in 2025.

“It is clear that 'Checo' is currently having his best season since he has been with us. If he can keep up these performances, especially qualifying in Japan, then he is definitely the best option for Red Bull in 2025,” he added.

“He is a team player and has now realised that his radical approach in terms of setup last year was the wrong one. Now he has a setup much more similar to Max's.”

Eyes on McLaren duo

Red Bull continue to remain interested in McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Both drivers signed new deals to keep them with the team until at least the end of 2026 in the case of Norris.

Marko admitted either driver could be options in the future.

“Norris has at least one contract until 2026, so he is not an option in the short term, nor is Oscar Piastri,” he said.

“But both drivers are certainly interesting for us in the future.”

(L to R): Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren with Mark Webber (AUS) Channel 4 Presenter / Driver Manager and Oscar Piastri (AUS)
(L to R): Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren with Mark Webber (AUS) Channel 4…

It’s likely Red Bull will have to go outside of their driver pool in the future with Marko making it clear there’s no ‘next Verstappen’.

Marko did name French driver Isack Hadjar as someone he’s looking at, claiming that the Red Bull junior would have been leading F2 had it not been for bad luck.

“There will never be a Verstappen again, at least I don't see one at the moment. But we always deal with young drivers, he explained” “Isack Hadjar, for example, was simply unlucky in Formula 2 recently, otherwise he would lead the series.”

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