Apr.2 - Audi, the new owner of Sauber, may only give Carlos Sainz a couple of weeks to accept an offer to spearhead the new works Formula 1 project.

Sauber, in its current neon green 'Stake' and 'Kick' guise, is struggling not only for pace, but even to re-design a wheel flaw that is botching pitstops in 2024.

So with soon-to-be Ferrari refugee and Melbourne winner Sainz currently searching for another team and also linked with Mercedes and Red Bull, he is facing a momentous decision.

"Andreas Seidl wants planning security," reports Bild newspaper, referring to Sauber's CEO.

Indeed, Auto Motor und Sport is believed to have imposed a mid-April deadline for the 29-year-old Spanish driver to make his decision for 2025 and beyond.

The same publication believes Nico Hulkenberg is already a certainty for the other car.

Sainz has been accompanied at the grands prix so far this year by his famous father Carlos Sainz jr, who is helping to negotiate his son's next F1 seat.

"It's difficult to say where my son will be in 2025," Sainz snr, a rallying legend, told Sky Italia. "I hope to see him in a car that can fight to win.

"Everything that happened (with Ferrari) was a surprise, we didn't expect it and now we're trying to understand what to do and where to go. In the meantime, Ferrari seems to be allowing both drivers to push and the feeling is good.

"Red Bull is still the favourite, but Ferrari is closer now," Sainz snr added.

Sainz's pre-season "surprise" was that Ferrari decided to sign Lewis Hamilton for 2025. According to 1978 world champion Mario Andretti, it's a risk.

"Hamilton seemed to be an extraordinary driver, but now we see that he is also just human," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "That was also the case with Michael Schumacher when he returned.

"It makes me a bit sad that Sainz is being sacrificed to make room for Hamilton," Andretti added. "Compared to Charles (Leclerc), Carlos seems to immediately have a better feeling with the 2024 car."

Another former F1 driver, Christian Danner, goes one step further than that.

"They signed the wrong driver," he told motorsport-magazin.com, referring to Ferrari, Sainz and Hamilton. Danner said Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur "should have waited a little longer".

Former F1 team owner and boss Giancarlo Minardi, meanwhile, told Corriere dello Sport: "All my life, I have preferred young drivers. The only thing Hamilton can do is bring in some valuable engineers."


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