Audi in Formula 1, it’s (finally) official! The brand with the rings announces its arrival in the queen category of motorsport from 2026 with a powertrain of its design in Germany.
After months of persistent rumours, Audi confirmed this Friday its entry into Formula 1 from the season 2026. During a press conference at Circuit of Spa-Francorchampswhere the Belgian Grand Prix is being held this weekend, the German brand has clarified the first terms of its future commitment as a builder.
On this occasion, Markus DuesmannChairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG, and Oliver Hoffmanmember of the board of directors in charge of technical development, answered questions from the press in the company of Stefano DomenicaliCEO of Formula 1, and Mohammad bin SulayemPresident of the FIA.
« Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA », declared Markus Duesman. “Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a hugely stimulating development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, it’s a good time for us to be involved. After all, both Formula 1 and Audi have clear sustainability goals.”
“This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the enormous strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow,” adds Stefano Domenicali, F1 CEO.“It is also a great recognition that our move to sustainably powered hybrid engines in 2026 is a future-proof solution for the automotive sector. We’re all looking forward to seeing Audi’s logo on the grille and we’ll have more details on their plans in due course. »
— Audi (@AudiOfficial) August 26, 2022
A new engine designed in Germany
First weight information: Audi will start building its own hybrid turbo powertrain according to the new regulations in force within four years. The block will be designed and manufactured on the site ofAudi Sports in Neuburg, near Ingolstadt.
« For the development and manufacture of the power unit, we will rely on the valuable know-how of our motorsport employees, we will continue to invest in our motorsport center and we will also recruit highly specialized professionals », declared Julius SeebachCEO ofAudi Sports.
At Neuburg, there are already test benches for engine testing of F1 as well as for testing electric motors and batteries. Other necessary preparations are underway in terms of staff, buildings and technical infrastructure, and everything should be in place by the end of the year.
A distinct society was recently established as a subsidiary of Audi Sport. Adam Bakera trained engineer who worked for the FIA, will take over the management.
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F1 rather than endurance
Without any real surprise given the little information that has filtered through in recent months, Audi is also announcing the shelving of his stillborn LMDh prototype project. However, the brand specifies that it will continue the Dakar adventure with its 100% electric RS-Q e-tron. Victory will be the goal January 2023.
A commitment with which team?
In what form will Audi commit to 1 from 2026? Because if it is established that an engine will indeed be built, in what a car will we find him? At the time of writing these lines, the German brand is careful not to say more.
For several weeks, there has been a rumor that a takeover of Sauber would be in negotiation, so as to take advantage of the infrastructure of an existing team to get the project off the ground in the long term. But no details has yet filtered on the progress of these talks or the form that this partnership would take.
Be that as it may, it is hard to imagine Audi contenting itself with the simple status of « motorist » given the length of negotiations with the Formula 1 authorities and the FIA. As such, the « show car » in the colors of the brand unveiled in the Spa-Francorchamps pitlane (see slideshow) serves as an additional nod to the seriousness of its commitment.
We should know more by the end of the year, according to Audi…
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 26, 2022