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Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg set to sign for new F1 team

Audi will join the Formula 1 grid in 2026, but is keen to have both its drivers in place at Stake for 2025, with Nico Hulkenberg set to make the switch, RacingNews365 understands.

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In late 2023, RacingNews365 was informed that Audi was very keen on bringing Nico Hulkenberg to the team - and that a contract had been offered to the German for 2024 at the Stake team.

Sources have now indicated to RacingNews365 that Hulkenberg is now set to sign for Audi, thus becoming a Stake driver in 2025 before the Ingolstadt concern arrives in '26.

Audi has been keen to secure Hulkenberg for the experience he can offer in helping to steer a team in the right direction, something several engineers from teams Hulkenberg has driven for have confirmed.

Haas, the team Hulkenberg is set to leave, was keen to keep the popular German, with his feedback playing a major role in the development of the 2024 car to soothe the tyre management problems that plagued its 2023 machine.

From the first five races, Hulkenberg has three points finishes, compared to just one return in a grand prix throughout the 2023 season.

Audi perfect for Hulkenberg, Sainz likely to follow

The CEO of the Audi project Andreas Seidl has a clear mind as to who is his preferred driver line-up, with Carlos Sainz also hoping to be snared by the team.

Both Sainz and Hulkenberg are drivers with factory experience behind them, with the two having been team-mates at Renault in 2018 before Sainz's move to Ferrari following his McLaren spell.

Both are renowned for their technical knowledge and ability and thus Seidl believes they will be valuable in building up the new team, and also get the most out of the package.

But while Hulkenberg is set to sign with Audi, it is still awaiting Sainz's final decision, as he continues to evaluate his options in the driver market.

As RacingNews365 wrote yesterday, Sainz has not yet committed to Audi on the basis that there could be a Red Bull seat open for 2025 if Max Verstappen does leave for Mercedes.

However, Audi initially seemed to want to make Sainz's arrival a priority, but given the news of Hulkenberg agreeing terms it shows that it has no clear preference has been given.

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