The latest piece of the Formula 1 puzzle has fallen from the 2026 season. On Friday morning (26), Audi announced that it will enter the category with the arrival of new engines, within four seasons. Confirmation came at the opening weekend of the return of the Formula 1 holidays, on the traditional track of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
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Audi has been present in discussions about technical guidelines for the next generation of engines for more than a year until confirmation came last week. In addition to Audi, Porsche, which also belongs to the Volkswagen Group, tends to confirm entry soon.
“Motorsport is an integral part of the essence of Audi. Formula 1 is our brand’s global platform and a challenging development laboratory.”
“The combination of high performance and competition has always been something that has brought innovation and technology transfer into our industry. With the new rules, this is the time for us to get involved. It’s clear that F1 and Audi are striving to achieve their sustainability goals.”
“I am excited to welcome Audi to Formula 1,” said series CEO Stefano Domenicali. “It is a distinctive, pioneering and innovative brand in technology. This is a very big moment for our sport, and something that signals the tremendous strength we have as a global platform to continue to grow.”
“It is also an acknowledgment that our decision to use sustainable fuels in hybrid powertrains in 2026 will be a future solution in the automotive sector. We all look forward to seeing Audi on the grid. We will know more details of their plans in due course.”
What is known about Audi’s plans is that the German brand is close to it Acquisition of 75% of the shares of Sauber, which is currently appearing on the network as Alfa Romeo. The information was initially provided by German car Motorsport Total, earlier this week. Essentially, the Germans own the team and control the operations, if these rules are agreed upon. This is what Audi has always wanted, unlike Porsche, which has a partnership deal with Red Bull.
According to the car, the Germans began to rely on Gerhard Berger to negotiate the purchase of the base in Hinwil, which is currently operating under the Italian name Alfa Romeo. The former driver, for his part, has denied any involvement in the case, telling Motorsport-Total.com that he “does not have an F1 advisory contract with Audi”. “I don’t have a close relationship with Sauber and have very few contacts with them. I have not been involved in any conversation between Sauber and Audi.”
What Berger confirms, however, is that he “established a connection” between Audi, led by CEO Marcus Dessmann, and McLaren. The brand was interested in acquiring shares in the Woking team, but the deal did not go through. The next step was to search for Williams and Aston Martin, but negotiations did not go forward either.
Sauber turned out to be the natural course, but the team had already turned down a buyout offer from Andretti, willing to pay €350 million (R$1.7 billion, at current price) to the Swiss team. Sauber owner Finn Rausing insisted the Swiss group should continue, jobs kept, and even demanded an additional €250 million (R$1.2 billion) in contribution to ensure the team was in good hands – circumstances that made Michael Andretti withdraw the bid.
The difference now is that Audi wants to pay more for fewer shares, meaning Rausing will continue to be part of the business, albeit as a minority partner. And all with a promise to continue developing Sauber as a factory team, in the same way that the partnership with BMW was, between 2006 and 2009. Another point that also draws attention in the German publication is the fact that Audi CEO, Duesmann, was the development chief for the Sauber team during The above period of partnership with BMW – another German brand.
The partnership with Audi, if confirmed for Sauber, has plans to leave the Hinwil base in charge of building the chassis and work on the wind tunnels, while the new engine will be built at Audi’s facility in Neuburg, Germany. By way of comparison, Porsche will develop most of its power units using the Red Bull chassis in Milton Keynes, England.
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