Audi has officially announced that it will join Formula 1 from 2026.
Audi announced its commitment at a press conference at the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. At the event, Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Audi, and Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Directors for Technical Development, answered questions in the company of the President and CEO of Formula 1 Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
The company said the deciding factor for its entry into F1 was the series’ plan to become more sustainable and profitable, while the series’ growing popularity has seen in recent years (due in large part to popular Netflix’ Drive to Survive’ streaming series), also played a big part in the company’s decision.
Formula 1’s new technical rules, which will apply from 2026, focus on greater electrification and advanced sustainable fuel. In addition to the current cost cap for teams, a cost cap for powertrain manufacturers will be introduced in 2023, and Formula 1 has set itself the ambitious goal of being a carbon-neutral racing series of here 2030.
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“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” said Markus Duesmann. “Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a very demanding development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, both Formula 1 and Audi pursue clear sustainability goals. »
Formula 1 intends to switch to cars running on synthetic fuel from 2026 as part of its plan to become carbon neutral by the end of the decade.
Audi Sport chief executive Julius Seebach, who arranged entry into Formula 1 as part of Audi’s motorsport realignment, said the company’s powertrain would be built at the state-of-the-art facilities at Audi. Audi Sport in Neuburg an der Donau, not far from Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt.
“For the development and manufacture of the Formula 1 powertrain, we will draw on the valuable expertise of our motorsport employees, continue to invest in our motorsport center and also recruit highly specialized professionals,” said he declared.
Former FIA safety director Adam Baker will lead Audi’s Formula 1 project as CEO. Prior to his work at the FIA, Baker spent 13 years at BMW where he ran racing and testing from 2013 to 2018, responsible for all of its racing programs including Formula E, DTM and sportscars. He also completed a 12-month stint as head of the powertrain department for his World Superbike team.
Baker was also involved with the BMW Sauber F1 project which competed from 2006 to 2009, first as engine engineer and later as Race and Testing Manager, F1 Powertrain. Before that he worked as an F1 engine engineer for Cosworth.
Audi says it will announce a decision on which team it will line up with in 2026 by the end of this year.
Audi’s entry into Formula 1 will see it consolidate its motorsport efforts, ending its LMDh project after recently suspending development of the sports car for endurance racing. The company will continue with the RS-Q e-tron on the Dakar Rally, aiming for an overall victory in the desert at next year’s race.
Audi and fellow VW Group member Porsche have long been rumored to enter F1, with Audi initially linked to take over the McLaren team. Both sides, however, denied this. Meanwhile, documents have emerged revealing Porsche’s intention to also buy 50% of Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing for a 2026 entry.