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Carlos Sainz

Audi gives Sainz more time to decide as Verstappen holds driver market key

Audi wants to sign Carlos Sainz AND wants to confirm the news soon but a decision is yet to be made, with Max Verstappen holding the key.

Audi is pulling out all the stops to sign Carlos Sainz, but the three-time grand prix winner is still yet to make a final decision over where he will drive in 2025.

RacingNews365 understands that Sainz remains the first choice for Audi, and that it is doing everything possible to bring in the soon-to-be former Ferrari driver as soon as it can.

It has been suggested that Audi has delivered several deadlines to the Spanish camp, but it remains to be seen if Audi is to firmly put its foot down with Sainz, but for now, it is understood that this is not the case.

Red Bull's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko previously revealed that the Ingolstadt concern has put a lucrative offer on the table to Sainz, with multiple sources indicating that this is indeed the case.

Audi is offering Sainz financial security, in both the short and long-term, and if he does join the project, will be a brand ambassador for life.

Given the excellent relationship with Carlos Sainz Sr after his win on the Dakar Rally earlier this year, that is an appealing prospect for Audi.

Internally, Sainz is seen as an ideal figurehead for Audi's first F1 team, and for that reason, it appears to be putting talks with other drivers on hold.

Sainz is both the biggest name and the number one priority Audi is currently focused on - and it is unlikely to put too much pressure on the 29-year-old.

Whilst Audi can offer Sainz a healthy financial package, on the sporting front, it cannot offer many guarantees.

The current Stake F1 team is in the midfield, and still needs major work to become a top outfit, including signing new personnel and gelling the team together, something both Adrian Newey and Pierre Wache of Red Bull have noted in recent RacingNews365 interviews.

Max Verstappen & Mercedes

But the spanner in the Audi works is Max Verstappen and if he will leave Red Bull for Mercedes, if he does not like what he sees from the 2026 Red Bull Powertrains engine.

This is an area Audi can, and hopes, to make a difference, with the beefed-up electrical systems and synthetic fuels fitting well to Audi's wishes.

Sainz is certainly open to moving to Audi, but he is also having talks with Mercedes and keeping an eye on what is happening at Red Bull.

Christian Horner is adamant that Verstappen will still be at Red Bull in 2025, although he said nothing about 2026 when questioned, with Toto Wolff continuing his charm offensive to lure the Dutchman to Brackley.

As long as that continues, Sainz will keep Audi waiting as long as possible before making a decision.

He will not have a competitive Stake car in 2025 if he does move, and a potential move to Red Bull could see him land the 2025 world championship.

Audi understands Sainz's strategy in the complex driver market, and is prepared to ease off the pressure before he ultimately decides where to drive.

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