Audi has officially announced that it will partner with Sauber ahead of its planned entry into Formula 1 in 2026.
Audi will become a strategic partner with Sauber and has acquired a stake in the Sauber Group. Further details of the deal have not been announced.
Sauber currently operates the Alfa Romeo team but that will all change as the pair will part ways at the end of 2023. The team will still compete in 2024 and ’25 with Ferrari power units.
Audi will enter as a works team like Mercedes and Ferrari, meaning that they will build their own cars and their own power unit. This is in contrast to Alfa Romeo, Haas, and Williams who all purchase power units from other works teams.
Audi AG Board Member and Responsible for F1 Programme, Oliver Hoffmann, believes that Sauber’s deep experience in the sport and already built facilities will help Audi’s F1 ambitions become a reality.
“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,” said Hoffmann.
“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.”
Manufacturing will take place at Sauber’s current base of operations in Hinwil, Switzerland. However, the creation of the power unit will be undertaken at Audi’s Motorsport Competence Centre in Neuberg.
Alfa Romeo team boss, Frederic Vasseur, said that “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. To become Audi’s official works team is not only an honour and a great responsibility: it’s the best option for the future and we are fully confident we can help Audi achieve the objectives they have set for their journey in F1.”
Audi have stated that a major factor in their decision to enter F1is the sport’s commitment to electrification and sustainable fuels. Audi have been focussing heavily on both these technologies in their own road vehicles and hope that the tech will trickle into their F1 technology.
Audi AG Chairman, Markus Duesmann, said, “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.”
F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali, said that this move proved that Formula 1’s current strategy to deliver on sustainability plans has allowed growth in the sport: “It highlights the strong momentum that Formula 1 has and the belief in our strategy to further grow and enhance the sport while delivering on our sustainability plans to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 with advanced sustainable fuels in the cars in 2026. We look forward to seeing their progress over the coming years and the car on the grid for the team’s first race.”
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