Audi is set to join the Formula 1 World Championship from the 2026 season, when the next set of power unit regulations will take hold. The German manufacturer will enter the race as a power unit supplier.
The news follows that of the announcement made earlier this month that new power unit regulations will be implemented for the 2026 season and beyond, which will maintain the current architecture of the V6 internal combustion engine, but feature increased electrical power and 100 percent sustainable fuels. These are two factors which are said to have been of key importance to the manufacturer in joining F1.
“I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” said F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali, adding: “This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.”
Audi announced its entry into F1 during a press conference at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, ahead of the highly anticipated 2022 Belgian Grand Prix. Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem were present at the press conference, alongside senior representatives of Audi.
The manufacturer said they will announce a decision on which team they will be “lining up with in 2026 by the end of this year,” but the German marque is expected to form a partnership with the Sauber team, currently running under the Alfa Romeo name. Shortly after the big Audi announcement, Alfa Romeo stated they would conclude their deal as title sponsor with Sauber at the end of the 2023 season.
Audi is owned by the Volkswagen Group, so they will not be struggling to find parts or high tech facilities. The new power unit will be manufactured in Audi Sport’s facility in Neuburg, which means that it will be the first F1 powertrain built in Germany in over a decade. Mercedes, like many other manufacturers, are based in Britain.
“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA, 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,” said the Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Markus Duesmann.
Audi will not be the only VW group owned manufacturer entering the F1 circus, as Porsche are also expected to join the grid in 2026 in partnership with Red Bull.