Sainz at Crossroads: Ferrari Talks and Audi Interest Mark ‘Turning Point’ in F1 Future

Charles Leclerc has officially signed a new contract with Ferrari, while Carlos Sainz’s future is still undecided as he engages in discussions with Audi and attracts interest from other parties.

Lando Norris’s new McLaren contract, extending until 2026, is seen as a potential “turning point” in discussions about Carlos Sainz’s future. With Norris committing to McLaren long-term, the likelihood of Sainz changing teams soon appears limited, except for a costly buy-out agreement.

This could be a notable development for Sainz’s future. His existing Ferrari contract expires at the end of this year, and unlike his teammate Charles Leclerc, Sainz has not yet reached an agreement on terms with the team.

The main issue has been the duration of the proposed contract. Sainz has emphasized his preference to remain with Ferrari but insists on securing a long-term agreement, expressing a desire for a contract that extends beyond just two years.

While Ferrari has recently extended Charles Leclerc’s contract until 2029, they are inclined to keep the second seat open for potential opportunities. This suggests a reluctance to commit to a lengthy contract for Carlos Sainz. However, recent developments, such as Lando Norris committing to McLaren, may alter Ferrari’s approach. With Norris no longer an available option, Sainz could now have increased leverage in negotiations for a more favorable contract with Ferrari.

“This turning point comes in favour of Sainz, who will have one less obstacle at the negotiating table, so it is to be believed that the Spaniard will eventually be able to snatch the long-awaited two-year contract.” speculates the Italian Publication.  

The potential contract length is not the only potential source of disagreement at Ferrari. Despite public claims of equal treatment, Charles Leclerc’s central role in Ferrari’s long-term plans raises questions about how long Carlos Sainz will accept a supporting role. Sainz has alternative options, including being considered by Red Bull as a replacement for Sergio Perez. Additionally, strong speculation links him to a move to Audi when the Sauber team transforms into Audi’s works team in 2026.

 “As you would expect at Carlos’ house, with me being part of the Audi family, it’s logical that we talk and exchange views on what the Audi team can be in the future,” as said by Carlos Sainz’s father, a legendary figure in rallying who recently achieved the distinction of being the oldest Dakar winner, maintains strong connections with Audi and has openly acknowledged engaging in discussions about a potential transition with his son.