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Published 09:30 IST, April 27th 2024

German driver Nico Hülkenberg to leave Haas for Sauber next year ahead of Audi's arrival in F1

Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg is leaving Haas for Sauber at the end of the year, giving the team a German presence on the grid when it rebrands to Audi for 2026.

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Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany reacts in the garage during the second free practice session at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka | Image: AP
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Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg is leaving Haas for Sauber at the end of the year, giving the team a German presence on the grid when it rebrands to Audi for 2026.

The 36-year-old Hülkenberg will depart Haas after two years, both teams said Friday. Despite the Haas car being largely uncompetitive, Hülkenberg outscored teammate Kevin Magnussen on points last season and is ahead of the Danish driver after five races this year.

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German automaker Audi reached a deal for a full takeover of Switzerland-based Sauber last month and is planning to field a full works team from 2026. Hülkenberg will be “an important building block” in that process and closely involved with developing the 2026 car, Sauber said in a statement.

Hülkenberg brings experience from more than 200 races in F1 since 2010, though he holds the record of being the driver to start most races without ever finishing in the top three.

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As the only German on the grid, Hülkenberg could also be a good marketing fit for Audi. He previously drove for Sauber in 2013.

“The prospect of competing for Audi is something very special," Hülkenberg said in a statement. "When a German manufacturer enters Formula 1 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."

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The move from Haas to Sauber will reunite Hülkenberg with Sauber chief executive Andreas Seidl, who was team principal at Porsche when Hülkenberg won the Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race in 2015.

09:30 IST, April 27th 2024