Nun it’s official: Audi is entering Formula 1 for the 2026 season. This was announced by Audi Board Member Markus Duesmann, Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the International Automobile Federation FIA, on Friday in Spa-Francorchamps, shortly before the Belgian Grand Prix this Sunday (3 p.m. in the morning). FAZ live ticker for Formula 1 and on Sky).
“It is truly a very special moment: We will start in Formula 1 in 2026,” said Audi boss Markus Duesmann: “Audi has officially registered as an engine supplier.” Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali was happy about “a great day for sports”.
Not a whole new team
The car manufacturer did not initially announce which racing team Audi intends to work with in Formula 1. “We haven’t decided that yet,” said Duesmann. An official Audi statement said that a corresponding decision would be communicated by the end of the year.
Building a completely new team was ruled out by Head of Audi Development, Oliver Hoffmann. It is likely that the Ingolstadt-based company will buy shares in Sauber Motorsport. The Swiss team, which has been in Formula 1 since 1993, currently operates under the Alfa Romeo name and gets its engines from Ferrari.
It is rumored that Audi is gradually taking over 75 percent of the racing team. Previous talks about working with McLaren Racing and Aston Martin had been unsuccessful. Audi was silent on Friday about the costs of the Formula 1 commitment. Hundreds of millions of euros can be assumed.
New engine rules decisive
Entry was made possible by the new engine regulations that the FIA announced last week. From 2026 onwards, hybrid engines will be simpler, cheaper and more environmentally friendly – this will make Formula 1 more attractive for car manufacturers.
The premier class continues to circulate with 1.6-liter turbo engines, but with 100 percent sustainable fuel. The combustion engine in the unit should only generate half of the power, the rest is electric.
The tightened budget limit of 135 million dollars (135 million euros) per year also makes it easier to plan financially for entry. “With the new regulations, now is exactly the right time for us to get started. Because Formula 1 and Audi are both pursuing clear sustainability goals,” said Duesmann.
Audi wants to build the powertrain for its car in Neuburg, Bavaria. The chassis is said to be further developed in Hinwil, Switzerland – the headquarters of Sauber.