Carlos Sainz Sr has made history after triumphing for Audi in the 2024 Dakar Rally, in a victory that could have lasting effects on the Formula 1 grid.
The father of the Ferrari F1 star with the same name put in a tremendous drive during the Rally that ensured he collected a first ever Dakar win for the German team.
The Dakar held in Audi Arabia saw Sainz lead for almost the entire way, eventually winning by 80 minutes and 25 seconds, despite not winning a single individual stage.
The 61-year-old is already a motorsport legend following two Rally world title wins in 1990 and 1992, claiming 26 victories during his long career between 1987 and 2005.
But he has now further enhanced his motorsport CV after winning the Dakar for a fourth time (discounting his 2008 Central European Rally win). Audi is also the fourth manufacturer he has won with following other victories with Volkswagen, Peugeot, and Mini.)
It was a timely win for Audi, not only because it is their first but also because it is also set to be their last, with expectations resources will now be put into their Formula 1 project for 2026 with Sauber, who for the next two seasons will be known as Stake F1.
Will Carlos Sainz leave Ferrari to join Audi?
That also means a relationship with the Sainz family has been enhanced and has put Carlos Sainz Jr's future into more focus.
“I honestly think there are weeks in F1 where there's nothing to talk about. I don't know if it's clickbait or maybe smaller journalists trying to bring a story to gain notoriety, and make their smaller page more successful because they can say: 'I was the first one to say Carlos was at Audi in 2026.'
“I honestly think it's something related to that, because I don't understand where the rumours come from. It doesn't mean I will go, or will not go, it's impossible to say.
"But I know by fact that right now, I'm not talking with anyone else that is not Ferrari.”
F1 can change an awful lot inside a few races though, let alone half-a-year and a potential Sainz Audi link up on the grid for 2026 can only have been improved following the success of his father with the German marque in Dakar.
Although this year we aren't there physically, we are supporting you in every stage from home. We are very proud of you, of seeing how you keep breaking barriers and outdoing yourself, defending the lead in the toughest rally… pic.twitter.com/B4KKrWuM1O
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