Sauber deliver “we are not spectators” warning about F1 driver market

"We are a player in the market," Sauber boss insists due to Audi investment

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sprint
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Sauber, who will evolve into Audi in 2026, have warned that they will be “a player” in the F1 driver market.

The arrival of the German manufacturing powerhouse Audi into Formula 1 means that they are already preparing the team for its evolution.

That includes the potential arrival of coveted drivers for Sauber next year.

Carlos Sainz is the key name who is being linked with the project.

Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has claimed they cannot “match or beat” a big-money offer from Audi to Sainz.

"There are 14 drivers without a contract fixed for next year. We are speaking with different drivers," said Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

"It is not the time for us to make any decision. It's time to provide our drivers with a performing car.

"But we are happy that it seems that we can play a role - a different role - in the driver market for the future.

“Thanks to the Audi announcement, and the investments that will be done in order to improve our team.

"Finally we are attractive. And we are not the spectators. We are a player in the market."

Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas currently make up Sauber’s driver duo but both of their contracts expire this year, and both are at-risk of losing their drives.

Ferrari’s Sainz and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg have been heavily linked with moving to Sauber to then spearhead Audi’s entry from 2026.

Alunni Bravi refused to confirm any targets, but said: "It's not appropriate to discuss or to disclose what could be the discussion in place.

"No one really knows what other teams are offering to the drivers or discussing with the drivers.

“We don't want to be part of a game that is done by others.

"Every driver is speaking with a lot of teams to understand the situation.

“To understand if there could be a common vision on the project. Especially for a team like us, that is in full transformation process ahead of 2026.

"But we are focused on our drivers, and we respect our drivers.”

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