Audi just dropped the big one: They will officially enter Formula 1! This has been rumored for literally years, but now it’s confirmed. And not only by the press corps F1, but by the Audi himself and the president and CEO of Formula 1 Stefano Domenicali.
“Since 2026, the premium Audi brand will compete in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship with a specially developed power unit,” Audi said in aStatement to the media. “The project will be based on Audi Sport facilities in Neuburg near Ingolstadt. This is the first time in more than a decade that a Formula 1 power train will be built in Germany. ”
More sustainable and cost-effective
After years kick ass and take names in Le Mans, Audi declined in 2005. That was when the rumors began: Where would all those engineers and mechanics go? What would Audi do? Was it due to the internal pressures of the Porsche corporate brother? The most obvious answer was that they were joining F1. The actual answers were slightly different and much more complex. However, here we are, 17 years later, and Audi has made it official.
According to Audi, the reason for joining Formula 1 is more sustainable and profitable, citing F1’s goal of becoming a series of carbon neutral races by 2030. “The new technical standards, which will be applied from 2026, will focus on greater electrification and advanced sustainable fuel,” continued Audi. “In addition to the existing cover on equipment costs, a cost cap will be introduced in 2023 for power unit manufacturers. ”
“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” added Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the AUDI AG Board of Directors. “Formula 1 is a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always a engine of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. ”
As for the “specially developed energy unit”, Audi is building the engines, not the whole car. Or, to be more precise, they will produce power units consisting of an internal combustion engine V6 and a hybrid battery-powered engine. Essentially Audi will do what Honda did for Red Bull. But what is the first time in more than a decade that will build a Formula 1 Powertrain in Germany? That’s a little shade. Porsche? BMW? Mercedes AMG Petronas? Come with me!
However, the most important thing is the plan to be more sustainable. The owners of Audi, the Volkswagen Group, were trapped in all that “diesel-gate” scandal and, in response, they are moving towards EVs in a big way. They are also looking for good press about being cleaner, greener and morefutures in your thought.In other words, we need to change, and F1 is changing in the right direction, so let’s do this together. “With the new rules, now is the right time to get involved,” Duesmann said. “After all, Formula 1 and Audi pursue clear sustainability objectives. ”
It’s a win/win at many levels. Audi joins the big leagues (finally!), the FIA has another bad competitor, and fans get to see what Audi can do at the highest level of racing.
Audi In F1: To be Determined
VW and Internal Divisions: From what I have gathered a long time ago, one of the factors in Audi that takes so long to get involved was internal manipulation. Audi is owned by VW, and VW ownsA lot.from other brands. Then why Audi? Why does Audi run F1? Why not VW itself or another brand? This brings us to the second point:
Porsche: This is the most significant point of all the whispers I’ve heard covering the sport. Of all car manufacturers within VW, what has the most racing heritage? Porsche, of course. Why doesn’t the Stuttgart band do this? I don’t know, but rumors are rampant, and you have to imagine that Porsche’s board is today’s smoke and flames. What if Porsche decides to enter F1 anyway? Speak of rivalry!
Andretti Autosport: This can explain why Michael Andretti’s offer to buy Sauber Alfa Romeo went south (Andretti added later that it was aboutcontrol of the equipment). I still think it’s a dumb move in the FIA part (Mikey would have made a big addition), but why go with Andretti Autosport when you can go with Audi?
What a team: The most visible of its absence in the Audi press release is that no equipment is mentioned. That last line, “Audi will announce a decision on which team will be aligning in 2026 by the end of this year,” he speaks volume. That means Audi will be an engine – I’m sorry, an energy provider only. They won’t make an entire team like Ferrari and Mercedes.
So, who will Audi associate with? The long-standing rumor has been Sauber Alfa Romeo, who is currently running Ferrari engines coated. That would be the smart choice, given the modern facilities of Sauber and the depth of talent. The other options are Haas (I doubt) and Alpha Tauri. Williams is a long shot, especially because they seem firmly in bed with Mercedes.
Alpha Tauri makes an interesting possibility, especially when you consider the supposed long and high-level conversations between Porsche in the parent company of AT, Red Bull. If Red Bull becomes Red Bull Porsche, then there is a certain logic in Alpha Tauri becoming Audi Alpha Tauri.
The future will show us soon enough, but in the meantime, welcome to the big leagues, Audi! Good luck!
Tony Borroz, long-time Automoblog writer, has worked on popular driving games as a content expert, as well as working for aerospace companies, software giants, and as a movie stuntman. He lives in the northeast corner of the northwest Pacific.
Source: Audi AG.
Original article: Audi to Enter Formula 1, although some questions remain