Skip advert
Advertisement

Audi F1 entry gathers pace with investment in Sauber Group

Audi will take part in the 2026 Formula One season via a joint partnership with Sauber.

2026 will be a huge year for F1 with new engine regulations, but also a new name as Audi joins the sport for the first time. 

Audi had previously announced it would be an engine supplier for Sauber, but now the German giant has taken things further by buying a minority stake in the Swiss engineering company. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Sauber said in a statement that it’s “pleased to announce that Audi acquired a minority stake in the Sauber Group. This is an important milestone on the way to Audi’s entry in Formula One, scheduled for 2026, for which the Sauber Group will be the German brand’s strategic partner.”

Sauber will split with its current partner Alfa Romeo at the end of the 2023 season, although it will continue to use Ferrari power units for 2024 and 2025. Frédéric Vasseur, former Sauber Motorsport CEO and Team Principal, now Scuderia Ferrari’s Principal said “The partnership between Audi AG and Sauber Motorsport is a key step for our team as we continue to make progress towards the front of the grid. It’s the best option for the future and we are fully confident we can help Audi achieve the objectives they have in Formula One.”

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The man tasked with overseeing Audi’s F1 team will be Oliver Hoffmann. He said of the partnership, “We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project. We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team.”

New rules for 2026 include manufacturers agreeing to abandon the complex motor generator unit from the hybridised and turbocharged V6 engines. New suppliers will receive extra testing time and larger spending allowances. Audi will develop its own engine near to its Ingolstadt headquarters, making it the first F1 powertrain built in Germany for over a decade.

From 2026 there will be an increase in power from the electrical side of the powertrain in F1. Audi says it’s possible the electric motor will produce as much power as the 1.6-litre turbocharged engines. The engines themselves will also be required to run on sustainable fuel - a prerequisite, Audi says, for its entry. 

Audi has also referenced the broadening audience base F1 is enjoying. It said in a statement, “In 2021, more than 1.5 billion TV viewers watched the races. Formula 1 is popular in key markets such as China and the USA, and the trend continues to rise – even amongst young target groups.”

Audi has already provided a mock-up 2022 specification F1 car in the brand’s presumed livery. 

Audi’s entry may not be the only Volkswagen Group F1 commitment we will see this decade - Porsche is also widely tipped to re-enter the sport as an engine manufacturer. The German sports car maker recently called off a seemingly planned partnership with Red Bull, stating 'equal footing could not be achieved'. Porsche says it'll continue to look at entering the sport.

Click here to learn more about synthetic efuels...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Goodbye 40 TDI: Audi drops the numbered engine names that confused us all
Audi 40 TDI badge
News

Goodbye 40 TDI: Audi drops the numbered engine names that confused us all

Audi is set to remove the powertrain naming strategy from the back of its cars
18 Mar 2024
Best new cars coming in 2024
Best new cars coming in 2024 - header image
Best cars & vans

Best new cars coming in 2024

There are some big new models from the likes of BMW, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, MINI, Skoda and more on the way in 2024
12 Mar 2024
F1 preview 2024: the longest ever Formula One season awaits
F1 - header
Features

F1 preview 2024: the longest ever Formula One season awaits

Our guide to all the teams and drivers for the the 2024 Formula One World Championship season
28 Feb 2024
Lewis Hamilton joins Ferrari: F1 ace to swap Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025
Lewis Hamilton sitting next to a trophy
News

Lewis Hamilton joins Ferrari: F1 ace to swap Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025

It’s the end of an era in Formula One as Lewis Hamilton agrees to leave the Mercedes-AMG team at the end of the 2024 season
2 Feb 2024

Most Popular

Car Deal of the Day: sensational BMW M2 is a bargain at this price!
BMW M2 - front tracking
News

Car Deal of the Day: sensational BMW M2 is a bargain at this price!

Our Day of the Day for 18 April is the formidable BMW M2 performance car
18 Apr 2024
New 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe goes on sale with specs and prices announced
New Hyundai Santa Fe - front
News

New 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe goes on sale with specs and prices announced

The big, bold seven-seater starts from £46,775, and is available with full-hybrid and plug-in hybrid power
18 Apr 2024
Best small SUVs to buy 2024
Best small SUVs - header image
Best cars & vans

Best small SUVs to buy 2024

There's a huge range of small SUVs out there, so we’ve picked out the very best
19 Apr 2024