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Sauber: Audi's accelerated F1 takeover a boost for short term

Audi’s decision to complete a 100% buyout of Sauber, a takeover which has arrived quicker than expected, will still provide a short-term boost for the Formula 1 team.

Zhou Guanyu, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The German manufacturer will arrive on the grid in 2026 with a works engine and chassis programme after initially buying a 25% stake in Sauber Motorsport early last year.

There was speculation that Audi would stop at a 75% investment, which would be signed off much closer to 2026, but it has instead accelerated plans and voted for a full takeover.

While this shores up the Swiss squad’s long-term future, it will still provide a short-term boost, according to Sauber’s F1 head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar.

For sure, it is encouraging for the future,” he said. “But also, we need to think about today, no?”

The Spanish former Jaguar, Williams and Toro Rosso staffer reckons Audi’s financial injection will help the chassis operation build up over the next two seasons.

He continued: “I would say it is important in terms of budget possibilities, and what we can build in the next year and a half or two years before Audi [arrives] fully and we are Audi.

“So, just to have the team ready, and we just need to do as much as we can now to build that team to be ready when it matters.

“But in that time, we want to still be competitive, and we want to fight for the points every single race.

Xevi Pujolar, Head of Trackside Engineering, Stake F1 Team

Xevi Pujolar, Head of Trackside Engineering, Stake F1 Team

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“I will say that, even with all the issues that we have got, that gives us energy, and a positive mindset that what is coming is better and there is a light at the end of the tunnel just to make sure that we are successful.

“That's what we want to do. To be successful.”

Then branded as Alfa Romeo, Sauber finished ninth in the 2023 constructors’ championship, having lost its early ground-effect era advantage that came with complying with the minimum weight limit from the start of the new rules cycle, unlike rivals.

Audi’s confirmation of an accelerated Sauber purchase has alleviated speculation that the firm was getting cold feet over its F1 programme. This followed the replacement of CEO Markus Duesmann with Gernot Dollner, who is said to be more sceptical over an entry.

As part of Audi’s commitment, it has installed former chief development officer Oliver Hoffmann as the chair of all Sauber companies. Ex-McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has also been appointed CEO of the Audi F1 team.

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