Audi has confirmed that it will enter Formula One by taking a stake in the Sauber team that will become the automaker’s official entry in 2026. Sauber currently competes under the Alfa Romeo brand with Ferrari engines. It will continue to use its power units when it is expected to revert to the Sauber name for 2024 and 2025 before becoming Audi’s factory team and using Audi engines on its entry into the sport.
Audi, which is part of the Volkswagen group, announced its intention to enter F1 at the Belgian GP in August. His partnership with Sauber was long overdue and was confirmed on Wednesday. The manufacturer, which was founded in 1909, has not competed in F1 and the decision to enter the sport was based on new engine regulations due to start in 2026.
Sauber has been racing in F1 since 1993 when it used Mercedes engines. The team’s best result in the world championship was second in 2007 (the year McLaren was disqualified) and third in 2008.
Sauber team principal Fred Vasseur was optimistic that Audi’s resources would make a real difference to them. “The partnership between Audi AG and Sauber Motorsport is a key step for our team as we continue to make our way to the front of the grid,” he said. “Becoming the official Audi works team is not only an honor and a great responsibility: it is the best option for the future, and we are completely confident that we can help Audi achieve the goals they have set for their journey in the F1”.
Oliver Hoffmann, the head of F1 technical development at Audi F1, was also hoping for 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 facilities and experienced team from previous collaborations and we are convinced that together we will form a strong team.”
He was received by Finn Rausing, Chairman of the Sauber 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 increasing role of electrical elements in the 2026 power units and the intention to run the engines on fully sustainable fuels were an important part of 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 on sports cars, enjoying enormous success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it was victorious 13 times. (Further back, the company entered grand prix racing in the 1930s as part of Auto Union AG, a partnership of four German car companies whose racing rivals included Mercedes.)
Porsche, also part of the Volkswagen group, was expected to enter F1 earlier this year, but its proposed partnership with Red Bull fell through in September. The FIA has stated that the manufacturer is still in talks with the teams for a possible entry in the future.