Sauber’s big F1 driver overhaul: Bottas, Zhou out for 2025?

Sauber, previously known as Alfa Romeo and soon to be rebranded as ‘Stake F1 Team’, is reportedly planning a total overhaul of its driver lineup. This intriguing development comes from the well-respected F1 correspondent Roger Benoit, as the Formula 1 community shifts its focus to the driver market for 2025.

While Charles Leclerc has secured his future with Ferrari and Lando Norris with McLaren, attention is now turning to Carlos Sainz. Amidst speculation, Sainz is reportedly weighing a decision between staying with Ferrari or moving to Sauber, which is transitioning to Audi in 2026. “Has Sainz informed Ferrari about a possible move to Audi-Sauber?” Benoit pondered in Blick.

Benoit suggests that Sauber’s future lineup under Audi won’t include current drivers Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou. He hinted at possible replacements like Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon or Williams’ Alex Albon.

Meanwhile, Italian media are divided on Sainz’s future. La Repubblica reports that Sainz is close to renewing with Ferrari, while Corriere della Sera indicates that negotiations between Sainz and Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur are still ongoing.

La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Mario Salvini speculates that contract length might be the sticking point in the Ferrari-Sainz talks. “It is likely that he is looking for another two-year contract, although he is not lacking alternatives,” Salvini wrote.

Luigi Perna, another correspondent for the same newspaper, believes Vasseur is eager to secure Sainz’s signature before the season starts, to maintain a positive internal atmosphere. However, with Ferrari’s long-term bet on Leclerc, Perna questions whether Sainz will agree to the terms that reflect the internal hierarchy.

Eddie Irvine, famously Michael Schumacher’s subordinate at Ferrari, offered his perspective on the Ferrari drivers: “It’s clear that Leclerc has a bit more talent. Sainz had some good races, he has won, he has been competitive compared to his teammate. But Charles is clearly the better of the two. The fact that he (Leclerc) lacked a victory last year doesn’t change my opinion. At the end of the season, when the car had developed, he showed all of his value.”

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