Nico Hulkenberg announces he will leave HAAS and head to Sauber in 2025 before Audi takes over and makes a highly-anticipated return to F1 in 2026. 

Exciting news for motorsport fans today; it has been officially confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg will be Audi’s first Formula 1 driver when they enter the sport in 2026. The 36-year-old German, who has been impressing since his return to the grid in 2023, will drive for Sauber in the 2025 season before Audi takes over the team.

Impressive Comeback for Hulkenberg

After three years without a permanent drive, Nico Hulkenberg returned to Formula 1 with Haas in 2023. His performance since then has not gone unnoticed. This recent signing by Audi confirms sets the stage for an exciting partnership between Hulkenberg and the German car manufacturer. It also means that he will displace either Valtteri Bottas or Zhou Guanyu from the Sauber driver line-up for 2025. The 2024 season has only just got underway, but with Lewis Hamilton already confirming he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari, we expect to see several driver changes ahead of the 2025 season.

According to a recent Sky Sports report, Hulkenberg expressed his excitement about the opportunity to compete for Audi in Formula 1. “The prospect of competing for Audi is something very special,” he said. “When a German manufacturer enters Formula One with such determination, it is a unique opportunity. To represent the factory team of such a car brand with a power unit made in Germany is a great honor for me.”

Nico Hülkenberg becomes a driver for the Audi F1 factory team

Praise from Sauber CEO

Andreas Seidl, Sauber’s chief executive, spoke highly of Hulkenberg and his contribution to the team’s transformation. “With his speed, experience, and commitment to teamwork, he will be an important part of the transformation of our team – and of Audi’s F1 project,” Seidl said. “Nico is a strong personality, and his input, on a professional and personal level, will help us to make progress both in the development of the car and in building up the team.”

Hulkenberg’s Impressive Resume

Throughout his career, Hulkenberg has driven for various teams, including Williams, Force India, Renault, Racing Point, and Aston Martin. He previously had a one-season stint with Sauber in 2013 before moving on to other teams. His experience and expertise make him a valuable asset for Audi’s entry into Formula 1.

Motorsport fans all over the world will undoubtedly be eagerly awaiting Audi’s debut in Formula 1 in 2026 with Nico Hulkenberg at the wheel. The partnership between Hulkenberg and Sauber, leading up to Audi’s takeover, will be an exciting glimpse of what we can expect to see in the coming years.