Audi Acquires Minority Stake in Sauber Group
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 563
In a strategic move that marks a significant step forward in its journey to enter Formula One, German automaker Audi has become a minority shareholder in the Sauber Group, reports Sky Sports. The announcement follows the October 2021 announcement that Audi will serve as the engine supplier for the Sauber F1 team beginning in 2026, coinciding with the introduction of new regulations in the sport, including a switch to fully synthetic fuels for internal combustion engines.
Financial Details Remain Undisclosed
Although the financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed, Sauber has referred to it as "an important milestone on the path of Audi's entry into Formula 1". As part of the partnership, Sauber's Hinwil plant, equipped with a state-of-the-art wind tunnel, will be made available to Audi for its F1 program, while the engine will be developed at another plant in Neuburg an der Donau in Germany.
Sauber's current partnership with Alfa Romeo will come to an end after the upcoming season, paving the way for the German brand's strategic partnership with Audi. In a statement, Sauber said, "This is an important milestone on the way to Audi's entry in Formula One, scheduled for 2026, for which the Sauber Group will be the German brand's strategic partner."
The Best Option for the Future
Former Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur, who spoke about the partnership in October 2021, described it as the "best option for the future".
He added, "To become Audi's official works team is not only an honour and a great responsibility, it's the best option for the future and we are fully confident we can help Audi achieve the objectives they have set for their journey in Formula 1." Audi is currently expanding its production facility, which it previously used to develop its LMP1 program in the Fia World Endurance Championship.
The completion of the reconstruction of the factory is expected in Q1 2024, marking the start of a new phase in the Audi-Sauber partnership. Until then, Sauber will continue to fulfill its contract with Alfa Romeo before switching to Audi power in 2026.
Audi plans to conduct the first tests of the new engine in 2025.
A New Era for Formula One
The new generation of F1 engines will feature increased electrical power and 100% sustainable fuels, derived from non-food plants and municipal waste, among other sources.
The power of the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine will remain around 850 hp. Further details are expected to be announced next month.