In 2026 the German manufacturer Audi, in partnership with Sauber, will enter Formula 1 as a new team. Newcomers were able to join the sport thanks to new regulations on power units. Audi presented its Formula 1 project at the Auto Shanghai motorshow, as the Chinese GP had been cancelled. Audi provided an update on their Formula 1 project, revealing they would run a complete power unit test before the end of this year.
They will not only test a hybrid powertrain but will also hire over 300 people for the project, despite the Sauber deal. Audi owns a small minority stake in Sauber, the team that competes as Alfa Romeo. Audi’s F1 presence will grow due to its strategic partnership with the Swiss outfit. The manufacturer confirmed that single-cylinder engines have been tested by the manufacturer since 2022. The bench setup is the reason for this. Audi has reportedly already decided on its driver lineup and is looking to sign Ferrari Carlos Saniz in 2026.
Audi announced in a recent press release that “more than 260 experts are already aboard.” Audi Sport and Audi employees have a diverse range of expertise in electric motorsport. They form the core of the team. The team is bolstered by Formula 1 experts who are sourced from outside and will help to strengthen it in a targeted way .”
Audi says that Motorsport is a part of their DNA
Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG stated that progress towards entering F1 has been accelerated. In Neuburg, a new building of 32,000 square feet will house the additional test rigs to be used for power unit development. Hoffmann stated , “The Audi Formula 1 Project has really taken off over the past few months.”
He said, “In the ongoing conceptual phase of the power module, the foundation for our drivetrain in 2026 is currently being laid.” We place great emphasis on detailed work such as materials or manufacturing technology, but also on topics like the energy management of the Hybrid Drivetrain. Efficiency is key to Formula 1’s success and the mobility of tomorrow. These approaches will help both worlds .”
Audi’s F1 program was presented at Auto Shanghai along with the Audi F1 Show car to remind everyone of the importance the Chinese market. Sauber, meanwhile, has already hired Andreas Seidl as CEO, the former McLaren team principal. He worked previously for Porsche, Audi Group’s sister company. He is to be involved in the transformation of Alfa Romeo into Audi within the next few months.