Nico Hulkenberg leaves Haas for Sauber in 2025; will become Audi's first F1 driver

Nico Hulkenberg will leave Haas to join Sauber ahead of Audi's takeover in 2026.

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sprint and
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Haas F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5,…

Nico Hulkenberg will leave the Haas F1 Team at the end of the season, making the move to Sauber as he becomes Audi's first driver.

Hulkenberg has been heavily linked with Sauber for the 2025 F1 season as the Swiss-based outfit gears up for Audi’s entry.

The German has been top of Audi’s wish list for 2026, particularly given Hulkenberg’s starring performances for Haas since the start of last year.

Haas initially announced Hulkenberg's departure before Sauber confirmed the news.

Sauber are hopeful of signing Carlos Sainz alongside Hulkenberg, a reunion of Renault's 2018 driver-line up.

“I’m returning to the team I worked with back in 2013 and have fond memories of the strong team spirit in Switzerland,” Hulkenberg said. 

“The prospect of competing for Audi is something very special. When a German manufacturer enters Formula One with such determination, it is a unique opportunity. To represent the factory team of such a car brand with a power unit made in Germany is a great honour for me.”

Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl added: “We are very pleased to welcome Nico back here in Hinwil from 2025 and to compete with him in Formula One. With his speed, his experience and his commitment to teamwork, he will be an important part of the transformation of our team – and of Audi’s F1 project.

“Right from the start, there was great mutual interest in building something long-term together. Nico is a strong personality, and his input, on a professional and personal level, will help us to make progress both in the development of the car and in building up the team.”

Hulkenberg’s arrival has a number of implications on the driver market.

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu are expected to be available given Sauber aren't keen on retaining either.

Hulkenberg's departure also leaves a vacancy at Haas.

Oliver Bearman is the heavy favourite to take the seat following his impressive F1 debut with Ferrari in Saudi Arabia.

It’s still unclear whether Kevin Magnussen will remain on the team given the likely options on the market.

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