Carlos Sainz has reportedly signed a pre-contract to join Audi F1 in 2025

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Carlos Sainz could be set to leave Ferrari at the end of his current deal, having reportedly signed a pre-contract with Audi to join its F1 squad in 2025, when it will still be called Sauber before it becomes a works team in 2026.

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

The Spaniard’s contract with Ferrari runs until the end of the 2024 season, but according to sources from AutoAction, the one-time grand prix winner is already looking at his options beyond his current deal.

Sainz told the Australian website that he would prefer to start next year already knowing his plans for 2025 and beyond, in order to avoid mid-season “distractions” with the team he is “currently” with:

“I do prefer starting a season already knowing where I’m going to be the following year,” he said. “Because that takes away the distraction that there always is to be negotiating a new contract when you need to be fully focused on what you’re doing on track and on the work you have to do with the team you’re currently with.

“That’s the only way to make progress.”

Despite the Spaniard claiming that he “believes in the Ferrari project”, it’s clear that he’s looking at possible alternatives should he not renew his contract at the Scuderia. With his team-mate Charles Leclerc rumoured to have a 5-year extension in the pipeline, it might be worth for Sainz to go into a project in which he would be the leading driver, as could be the case at Sauber/Audi.

“While it’s still early days and the end of the season is still some four months away, it’s true that once this championship will be over, I’ll fully focus on sorting my future.

“The goal is to go into the 2024 championship without any worries about it and my contract for the future already signed and sealed.”

The move to sign a pre-contract with Audi doesn’t mean a full-on commitment from the Spaniard, as it is a non-binding deal, a practice that is commonly adopted by teams including Ferrari.

With his father and rally legend Carlos Sainz Sr. having close contact with Audi through its rally and Dakar programmes, the 61-year-old could be helping in negotiations to secure his son a deal in F1’s newest works team, possibly with inside information and knowledge of the German manufacturer F1 program.