Motor sport premier class: Audi from 2026 Formula 1 works team - Sauber becomes a partner

Audi will fight for success as a works team in Formula 1 from 2026 and work together with Sauber.

Motor sport premier class: Audi from 2026 Formula 1 works team - Sauber becomes a partner

Audi will fight for success as a works team in Formula 1 from 2026 and work together with Sauber.

The Volkswagen subsidiary officially announced its choice of partner and wants to benefit from the know-how of the traditional Swiss team in the future. Audi takes over a stake in the Sauber Group. It has not yet been announced how high this will be. Audi described the strategic partnership as a "milestone".

"Building a strong team together"

"We are delighted to have found such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project," said Audi CTO Oliver Hoffmann. "We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art location and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team." Audi already used the high-tech wind tunnel from Sauber.

As was the case with the cooperation between BMW and Sauber in Formula 1, there will also be job sharing this time. The drive unit is developed by Audi in Neuburg an der Donau, while the car is manufactured by Sauber at its headquarters in Hinwil. The Swiss, who are currently sixth in the Formula 1 Constructors' Championship ahead of the Grand Prix in Mexico, will also be responsible for planning and running the races.

"Sauber is a first class partner for the use of the Audi Power Unit," said the head of Audi's Formula 1 project, Adam Baker. "We look forward to working with an experienced team that has helped shape many eras of Formula 1 history. Together we want to write the next chapter from 2026." The first drives in a Formula 1 test car with the drive unit developed for the future premier class regulations are planned for 2025.

100 percent sustainable fuel

Audi had already announced its entry into Formula 1 from 2026 at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of August. Even then, Sauber was considered the most promising candidate for the German carmaker. From 2026, new engine regulations will apply in Formula 1. The hybrid engines are to be operated with 100 percent sustainable fuel. The combustion engine in the unit should only contribute 50 percent of the power, the rest is electric. That fits with the future direction of the auto industry.

Sauber itself is a traditional team. The racing team of company founder Peter Sauber made its debut in 1993 in the premier class of motorsport. The connection to Audi can be traced back to BMW's Formula 1 interlude with Sauber at the beginning of the millennium. At that time, the current Audi boss Markus Duesmann was head of development.

When the hoped-for success did not materialize despite huge investments, BMW withdrew from the racing series in 2009 after only four years. Since 2018, Sauber has been fighting for points under the Alfa Romeo marketing name, and the partnership will end at the end of 2023. However, the racing team of the two drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu got their engines from Ferrari. It should be the same in 2024 and 2025, as Sauber announced on Wednesday.

"Audi is the best partner"

At the end of last year, a deal with the US racing driver clan Andretti fell through. Michael, son of former Formula 1 world champion Mario Andretti, wanted to join Sauber. According to reports, the demands of team owner Finn Rausing were too high. Among other things, the Swedish Tetrapak co-owner is said to have attached importance to the continued existence of the Sauber Group in Hinwil.

"Audi is the best partner for the Sauber Group," said Rausing, the head of the Sauber Holding. "It is clear that both companies share the same values ​​and vision. We look forward to achieving common goals with a strong and successful partnership."

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