The current partnership will see Sauber competing as the Audi factory team from the year 2026, using the power unit developed by Audi
Audi selects Sauber as its strategic partner to enter FIA Formula 1 World Championship and plans to acquire a stake in the group. Sauber races under the Alfa Romeo brand that uses Ferrari engines presently. The current partnership will see the company competing as the Audi factory team from the year 2026, using the power unit developed by Audi. The Swiss motorsport engineering company will continue to use its power units till it returns to the Sauber name for 2024 and 2025 before using Audi engines on its opening into the sports.
The firm announced its intention to enter Formula 1, in the month of August at the Belgian GP, and the confirmation of the partnership, which was long-awaited, marks the entry of Audi into the premier class of motorsport. The German automotive manufacturer which is a part of the Volkswagen group has not competed in Formula 1, and the decision to enter will strengthen the brand name further.
The power unit that consists of a battery, an electric motor, a combustion engine, and control systems will be created at Audi’s Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg an der Donau, while Sauber will develop and manufacture the race car at its site in Hinwil (Switzerland) and is responsible for planning and executing the race operations.
Audi and Porsche have held talks to enter the F1 separately but Porsche’s discussions with Red Bull have weakened after both companies couldn’t agree on team partnership and engine collaboration. Both companies received approval from Volkswagen to move forward with the plans of pursuing separate F1 entries which were dominated by Mercedes Benz for years. Formula 1 plans to switch to synthetic fuel cars in 2026 as part of its plan to become carbon neutral, aligning with Volkswagen’s climate goals.
Member of the Board for Technical Development at AUDI AG, Oliver Hoffmann states that the firm is convinced about Sauber group, its top facilities, and experienced team members from its previous collaborations and believe that the partnership will create a strong team. “We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,”, says Oliver Hoffmann. Audi has earlier used the firm’s hi-tech wind tunnel in Hinwil during the Le Man’s era and during the development of the Class 1 touring car for DTM.
Finn Rausing, the chairman of the Swiss motorsport engineering company’s board of directors welcomed the collaboration and stated that the partnership is best for the organization group as both the firms share the same vision and values and look forward together in achieving both the company’s common goals in the strong partnership.
Fred Vasseur, Sauber team principal was confident that the partnership with Audi would make a positive impact on the manufacturer. “The partnership between Audi AG and Sauber Motorsport is a key step for our team as we continue to make progress towards the front of the grid,” says Fred Vasseur. He further adds that becoming Audi’s partner is a great responsibility and a viable option for the future and the company is confident that it can fulfill it’s requirements for the F1. The firm started competing in F1 from 1993 using Mercedes engines, having the best finish in the world championship coming second in the year 2007 and third in 2008.
The firm’s expansion of the Neuburg facility is happening in full swing as the development of the facility in terms of technical infrastructure, personnel and buildings will largely happen in the year 2023. The power units developed for the 2026 F1 test car regulations tests are planned for 2025. F1 races are planning to step in to follow sustainability regulations and this decision channeled Audi to finalize their decision on entering Formula 1.