Having confirmed its entry into Formula 1 from the start of 2026, Audi has chosen Sauber as its strategic partner after talks with Formula 1 teams McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams failed. The partnership with Sauber is nothing new, as Audi Sport regularly uses the Sauber Group wind tunnel in Hinwil, Zurich to develop its Le Mans and Class 1 DTM race cars.
In its announcement, Audi also expressed plans to acquire a stake in the Sauber Group. The Swiss-based Sauber racing team currently competes in Formula 1 as Alfa Romeo Racing, but the partnership is due to end by the end of the 2023 season – with the team expected to return to its Sauber identity and continue to use Ferrari engines for 2024 and 2025
From 2026, the Sauber team will compete as Audi’s factory team, using powertrains developed by the German automaker. Sauber will continue to develop and manufacture the race car in Hinwil, Switzerland and will also be tasked with planning and executing race operations.
Development of the powertrain, including the electric motor, battery, control systems and internal combustion engine, is said to be already in full swing at the Audi Formula Racing GmbH plant in Neuburg an der Donau. The facility is expected to expand in terms of personnel and technical infrastructure next year, while the first tests of the 2026 power unit are expected to begin in 2025.
Formula 1 will take big steps towards sustainability with new regulations that come into force in 2026. The electric motor in the drivetrains will then have almost as much power – 400 kW (544 hp) – as the internal combustion engine. The 1.6-litre turbocharged engines will be powered by sustainable synthetic fuel as F1 aims to be a carbon-neutral racing series by 2030.
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