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Stake F1 confirm front-runner for second Audi seat

The second seat at the Stake F1 team ahead of its transition to Audi in 2026 is still up for grabs after the team confirmed Nico Hulkenberg last month.

To news overview © XPBimages

The Stake Formula 1 squad has confirmed the leading contender for the second drive at the team ahead of its transition to Audi.

The outfit confirmed last month that Nico Hulkenberg will join next year on a multi-year deal.

Audi will take over the Sauber-run organisation that currently runs under the Stake moniker in 2026, when fresh technical regulations will come into effect.

With Audi also involved in talks over the driver line-up, Sauber managing director Alessandro Alunni Bravi confirmed that out-going Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is the team's primary focus.

"Everybody knows that there is a top driver that is available in the market, it's Carlos Sainz," he told Motorsport.com.

"I think that everybody, would like to have Carlos on board. He is one of the best drivers.

“He shows [himself] to be extremely mature, a good driver to develop the car, to drive the team for the development, but at the same time very consistent, very strong both in qualifying and race. And I think that Ferrari has one of the best pairs of drivers.”

Alternative options

Other options also exist for the Hinwil-based outfit including 10-time grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas, who currently occupies one of the seats.

Sainz is also believed to be a possibility for Mercedes who is seeking a second driver following Lewis Hamilton's decision to depart for Ferrari.

Bravi highlighted Audi is not in complete control of the driver market but is not rushing to make a decision after penning a deal with Hulkenberg.

"But we know also that the drivers market is not depending just by ourselves.

“It is depending on different factors. And there are many teams that are discussing with drivers. And I think that there are several options for our team.

"And we will evaluate, but now that we announced Nico there is no rush to make this choice. We are still at the very beginning."”

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