Audi confirm Sauber deal to join Formula One grid from 2026 season | Formula One

Audi has confirmed it will enter Formula One by taking a stake in the Sauber team which will become the car manufacturer’s works entry in 2026. Sauber currently races under the Alfa Romeo brand using Ferrari engines. It will continue to use their power units when it is expected to revert to the Sauber name for 2024 and 2025 before becoming the Audi factory team and using Audi engines on its entry into the sport.

Audi, which is part of the Volkswagen group, announced its intent to enter F1 at this year’s Belgian GP in August. Its partnership with Sauber was long expected and was formally confirmed on Wednesday. The manufacturer, which was founded in 1909, has not competed in F1 before and the decision to enter the sport was grounded in the new engine regulations set to begin in 2026.

Sauber has been competing in F1 since 1993 when it used Mercedes engines. The team’s best finish in the world championship was second in 2007 (the year McLaren were disqualified) and third in 2008.

The Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur was optimistic Audi resources would make a real difference to the team. “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,” he said. “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.”

Oliver Hoffmann, the Audi F1 head of F1 technical development, also expected a strong partnership.

“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,” he said. “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.”

It was also welcomed by Finn Rausing the chairman of Sauber’s board of directors. “Audi is the best strategic partner for the Sauber Group,” he said. “It is clear that we share values and a vision, and we look forward to achieving our common goals in a strong and successful partnership.”

It is known that the increased role electrical elements in the 2026 power units would play and the intent to run the engines on fully sustainable fuels were a key part in Audi’s decision-making process. The engines will be manufactured at its Neuburg base in Bavaria.

Audi had previously placed a central focus of its racing activities in sports cars, enjoying enormous success at the Le Mans 24 Hours, where it has taken victory 13 times.

Earlier this year Porsche, also part of the Volkswagen group, were expected to enter F1, but their proposed partnership with Red Bull fell through. The FIA has stated that the manufacturer remains in discussions with teams for a potential entry in future.

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