German Formula 1 driver Nico Hülkenberg will move to Sauber at the end of the season, becoming the first driver announced for the team that will transition into Audi F1 in 2026.

The 36-year-old’s departure from American outfit Haas to the Swiss-based Sauber was announced on Friday evening AEST.

A veteran of more than 200 grands prix, Hülkenberg has long been touted as the man German manufacturer Audi wanted to enter F1 with in 2026.

Sauber will hand over the reins of the team to Audi at the end of the 2025 season.

“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 factor team of such a car brand with a power unit made in Germany is a great honour for me.”

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Hülkenberg’s F1 career appeared to be over at the end of the 2019 season when he was not offered a contract at Renault.

He filled in for Racing Point (now Aston Martin) three times during the 2020 season and then became the team’s reserve driver.

He returned to the grid full-time with Haas in 2023.

F1 broadcaster and journalist Will Buxton described the German’s comeback from obscurity as “a brilliant story”.

“The most incredible career renaissance. From sidelines to stand-in to signing for one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world as they join Formula 1,” he wrote on social media.

With Hülkenberg confirmed for 2025 it means one of the team’s current drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, will certainly not be with the team next season.

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Posted 4h ago4 hours agoFri 26 Apr 2024 at 8:37pm, updated 4h ago4 hours agoFri 26 Apr 2024 at 8:42pm