Audi announces Formula 1 entry from 2026

Audi has formally announced it will enter Formula 1 from 2026.

Audi announces Formula 1 entry from 2026

Confirmation arrived from Audi on Friday morning ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix after the next cycle of power unit regulations was finalised by the FIA last week.

Audi’s entry marks the first major step into F1 from 2026 for the Volkswagen Group. It is set to be joined on the grid from 2026 by sister brand Porsche through a partnership with Red Bull.

Audi will develop its new power unit out of its Neuburg site, with its operations being led by Adam Baker.

There are already test benches in place for F1 engines, and plans are being put together to expand the personnel and infrastructure for the Audi F1 project by the end of the year.

“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” said Audi board chairman Markus Duesmann.

“Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging 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, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula 1 and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals.”

Audi F1 car under cover

Audi F1 car under cover

Photo by: Adam Cooper

Audi said in its announcement that it will decide on a partner team by the end of the year, but it is widely understood it will work with Sauber.

Autosport reported earlier this week that a deal between had been struck that would see Audi take a stake in the team and give it factory-level backing, something Sauber has not enjoyed since BMW left F1 at the end of 2009. 

Audi’s arrival comes after years of links to a potential F1 entry, during which time it has instead focused on its efforts in sportscar racing and, up to the end of the 2020-21 season, in Formula E.

The news marks a major coup for F1, which has seen its popularity boom in recent years while increasing its appeal to potential manufacturers, aided by the series’ commitment to using sustainable fuels.

“I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.

"It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector.

“We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and will be hearing further details from them on their plans in due course.”

Audi and Porsche had been waiting on the FIA’s engine plans to be rubber-stamped before going official with their F1 entry announcements.

While Porsche has always been focused on a deal with Red Bull that will see it take a 50% stake in the team, Audi explored options with a number of teams including McLaren and Williams before settling on Sauber, which operates the Alfa Romeo squad.

Alfa Romeo has a long-term partnership in place with Sauber that is reviewed on a yearly basis, but its CEO, Jean-Philippe Imparato, told Autosport he was “not blind” to Audi’s interest.

Alfa Romeo has enjoyed title sponsorship rights at Sauber since 2018, but the team is powered by Ferrari engines.

With Audi’s entry now official, Porsche looks set to follow suit in the coming days by announcing its plans with Red Bull, meaning both of F1’s worst-kept secrets would be public knowledge.

shares
comments

Related video

Piastri F1 Contracts Recognition Board hearing set for next week
Previous article

Piastri F1 Contracts Recognition Board hearing set for next week

Next article

Verstappen can understand Alonso's Aston Martin F1 gamble

Verstappen can understand Alonso's Aston Martin F1 gamble
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022