According to chairman Markus Duesmann on Friday, the 2026 Formula 1 season will mark Audi’s first time serving as an engine supplier.
The announcement was made at Spa Francorchamps, the site of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, in the presence of Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the organization that regulates motorsports, and Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1.
According to Duesmann’s remark, “Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory.”
The engine will be produced at Audi Sport’s factory in Neuburg, close to Ingolstadt, with the firm announcing that it will be “the first Formula 1 power train to be built in Germany in more than a decade.”
Adam Baker, who spent three years working for FIA before to joining Audi in 2021, will take over as CEO of the business and the Formula 1 project.
Audi further indicated that they were drawn to Formula 1 because of its stated commitment to sustainability.
Their choice follows the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council’s conclusion that new engines, or power units (PU), would be necessary in Formula 1 by 2026 in order to increase sustainability.
The new motors will use fuel that is entirely sustainable and will enhance electrical power by up to 50%.
Formula 1 has satisfied Audi’s exact requirements by being “globally recognized, highly emotional, and technologically advanced,” according to the statement.
“The clear plan to improve sustainability and cost-effectiveness is the key to participating in the most renowned racing series in the world.
“The emphasis of the updated technical regulations, which take effect in 2026, is on increased electrification and improved sustainable fuel.
“In addition to the current cost cap for teams, a cost cap for producers of power units will be implemented in 2023.
In addition, Formula 1 has set a lofty objective for itself: carbon neutrality by 2030.”
Stefano Domenciali, president of Formula One, praised Audi’s choice as “a huge event for our sport.”
2 separate programs
Additionally, Audi sees tremendous potential for expanding its global auto sales through its affiliation with Formula One.
The racing series is one of the international sporting events with the greatest appeal, they claimed, due to the widespread interest it has generated.
“In 2021, the races were seen by more than 1.5 billion TV viewers.”
Formula 1 continues to gain popularity, even among younger target demographics, in important markets like China and the USA.
Audi participated in racing prior to World War II in the European Championship, which served as the forerunner to Formula One after the war.
Auto Union was founded by Audi and three other German automakers.
When Bernd Rosemeyer won the championship in 1936 after winning three of the four races and finishing second to teammate Hans Stuck, they had their most prosperous season.
Porsche is rumored to be interested in buying up to 50% of Austrian team Red Bull, which has its home base in England and is driven by world champion Max Verstappen. Porsche is likely to follow closely behind “stablemate” Audi.
According to Duesmann, “They would be two different programs.”
“We (Audi) will have our infrastructure in Germany, and if Porsche gets involved, they’ll have theirs in the United Kingdom,” said the executive.
Porsche has competed in Formula 1, unlike Audi.
Despite only competing in two full seasons (1961–1962), they fielded a team from 1957 to 1962. Dan Gurney’s victory in the 1962 French Grand Prix was their lone triumph.
They made a triumphant comeback to the racing world in 1983, supplying the McLaren team’s engines. McLaren won back-to-back constructors championships in 1984 and 1985.
Porsche’s final involvement in Formula 1 was a brief return in 1991, powering the Footwork team, after McLaren abandoned them for Honda in 1988.
Footwork moved to Ford engines following a terrible start to the season.