Carlos Sainz Cautioned Over Move to F1 Team with Steep Learning Curve

Eddie Jordan has cautioned Carlos Sainz that joining Audi might not immediately lead to success, highlighting the potential challenges due to the time it takes to become competitive at the forefront of the grid.

As Audi prepares to increase its control over Sauber in anticipation of their official Formula 1 team debut in 2026, their goal is to become a contender as swiftly as possible.

Amidst rumors of Sainz considering a switch to the Hinwil-based squad following Ferrari’s acquisition of Lewis Hamilton for 2025, Jordan, the former head of his own Formula 1 team, emphasized that Audi’s entry into Formula 1 would require a period of adjustment before reaching full competitive pace.

Carlos Sainz has been alerted to Audi’s challenging journey towards the forefront of Formula 1. Among the teams reportedly vying for Sainz’s talents are Audi, Aston Martin, Mercedes, and Williams.

However, before the news broke of Hamilton’s move to Ferrari in 2025, Jordan offered his insights on what Sainz might expect should he decide to join Audi.

During his appearance on the Formula For Success podcast, Jordan discussed the history of major manufacturers entering Formula 1 and not meeting their expectations, explaining:

“Everyone thought that Toyota with all the money and with all the expertise and everything that they could do, and that Honda had pulled out, so therefore there was a clear path for them.

“They were shocking, miserable. It was a really poor effort that Toyota did in Formula 1, and they scurried well out of it and they haven’t come back.

“The same, you could say, happened with BMW. I mean, [Robert] Kubica won a race, the quality of their engine at BMW is, for me, the best engine in the world, in terms of a road car basis, I just think it’s so strong and so good.

“But I would have thought that BMW and Toyota would come in with a huge bang. So, therefore, you’re assuming that Audi is going to come back, just because they’ve won some various things in Le Mans and stuff like that.

“Now, I know, Allan McNish, who is a very close friend of yours [speaking to podcast co-host David Coulthard], we both love Allan and we wish him every success, whatever he’s doing there, and he is so smart, he will make sure that he has the right people around him.

“But I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a five-year plan to get Audi to even get close to winning a race, and I don’t care what driver they have in it.

“There’s a massive learning curve. I learned that I realized how tough it was and I think that Audi, despite all the money that they’ve got, they have an uphill battle.”

In a conversation with David Coulthard, he highlighted Red Bull’s five-year journey to become a leading team after acquiring Jaguar at the end of the 2004 season.

He noted that despite making several high-profile hires at that time, it was a gradual process of improvement for the team. This culminated in their first race victory in 2009, as Jordan detailed.

Jordan further elaborated in his discussion with Coulthard; “Red Bull, let’s not forget, they had people like you there to help them along”

“They took over, if you like, the coals or the fire or the embryo of Jaguar, which was not a poor team, they were a strong team.

“Therefore, even them taking five years, and you know what money that Dietrich Mateschitz threw into that program – and he acquired the best people.

“If you’re telling me Audi can come in and beat McLaren and come in and beat the likes of even Aston Martin perhaps, or Ferrari for that matter? Or anyone else? It’s going to be a big struggle.

“Look, it doesn’t happen that easily. I think there are only six teams in the last 30 years that have won multiple Grands Prix, so that kind of makes it very concise, doesn’t it?

“It gives a big lead if you like to somebody like Red Bull and Ferrari and McLaren, Williams has to come back and who knows? They probably will come back.

“But you know, even when Prost came with the Peugeot originally and then afterward with the Renault. I just think new teams are on the way trying to compete against the existing teams, it’s a hard job.”