Audi has taken the next critical step toward Formula 1 by naming Sauber as a strategic partner for the project. As a result, Audi intends to acquire a stake in the Sauber Group. As a result of the collaboration, the historic Swiss racing team will run as an Audi factory team beginning in 2026, using the engine unit developed by Audi for motorsport's top class.
Following the announcement of the Formula 1 entry at the end of August, Audi's confirmation of its strategic partner is the next step in the company's Formula 1 entry. Sauber is one of the most well-known and classic Formula One teams, with over 30 years of expertise. While the engine will be developed in Audi's Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg a der Donau, the race car will be created and manufactured at Sauber's Hinwil facility in Switzerland. Sauber will also be in charge of race operations planning and execution.
"We are thrilled to have found such an experienced and capable partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project," says Oliver Hoffmann, AUDI AG's head of technical development. "From prior collaborations, we already know the Sauber Group with its cutting-edge infrastructure and experienced crew, and we are convinced that we will establish a powerful team together." During the successful Le Mans era and the creation of the Class 1 car for the DTM, Audi Sport, for example, employed the Sauber Group's high-tech wind tunnel in Hinwil, a little under four hours away by automobile.
"Audi is the ideal partner for the Sauber Group," said Sauber Holding Chairman of the Board Finn Rausing. "Both firms have the same principles and vision. We look forward to realizing our shared objectives through solid and successful cooperation."
The engine unit consists of an electric motor, battery, control systems, and an internal combustion engine that is already under development at the specially established Audi Formula Racing in Neuburg a der Donau.
Over 120 people are already working on the project. "Sauber is a first-rate partner for the utilization of the Audi engine unit," says Audi Formula Racing GmbH CEO Adam Baker. "We are excited to work with an experienced crew that has shaped several decades of Formula One history. Beginning in 2026, we shall write the next chapter together."
The itinerary building up to the first Audi race of the 2026 season is ambitious: The Neuburg facility's growth in terms of employees, facilities, and technical infrastructure must be completed by 2023. The first test in a Formula 1 test car with the engine unit constructed following the 2026 regulations is scheduled for 2025.
With the new rules that will take effect in 2026, Formula 1 will take a significant step toward becoming a more sustainable racing series. This was a necessary condition for Audi to participate in the racing series. Because of the increased use of power, motor units will be more efficient than they are now. The electric powertrains will be nearly as powerful as combustion engines, which produce roughly 400 kW (544 hp). The highly efficient 1.6-liter turbo engines run on CO2-neutral synthetic fuel. Formula 1 has likewise set itself the target of becoming CO2-neutral by 2030.