Getting into Formula 1 is a done deal. The German carmaker Audi could be the new partner of the Swiss team Sauber from 2026. With a meaningful Twitter message, car manufacturer Audi gave an indication of possible involvement in Formula 1.
The Volkswagen subsidiary on Friday tweeted a half-shaded rump of a race car that looks like a Formula 1 car. Audi Sport wrote: "More rings are coming. Watch this space..."
In another tweet, the car manufacturer made it clear to be on the safe side that the car shown is a concept vehicle that will not be available for sale.
A few minutes later it became clear: The start is perfect. Audi will be active in the racing series from 2026. Audi boss Markus Duesmann said during a press conference ahead of the Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium: “We will be driving in Formula 1 in 2026”.
In less than four years, Audi will be on the grid, which is not that long," said Duesmann. The background is new engine regulations that the world association passed during the summer break and that are intended to attract new manufacturers to the racing series.
At the beginning of April, the board of directors and supervisory board of the parent company Volkswagen gave the green light for Audi and Porsche to plan "for a possible entry into Formula 1". Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali said: “This is a huge moment for our sport, which underscores the tremendous strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.
It is also a great acknowledgment that our move towards sustainably powered hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector”.
Entry costs hundreds of millions
Nevertheless, the commitment is controversial internally, especially the plans for a start with two subsidiaries.
Porsche will probably form an alliance with the Red Bull team of world champion Max Verstappen. The car manufacturer has not yet named the partner for its plans. However, he is expected to join the Swiss racing team Sauber, which is currently active as an Alfa Romeo team in the top motorsport class.
"Audi will communicate a decision as to which team to start within 2026 by the end of the year," Audi said in a press release. Audi does not get in for a ride. With the commitment, which costs hundreds of millions of euros, you want to show off your technical superiority.
The promotionally effective radiance of Formula 1 only really unfolds if it is successful. “Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” said Duesmann. “Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging 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, Formula 1 and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals”.