After years of exploring a possible entry into Formula One, Audi, the German automobile company on Friday announced that it will be entering the sport in 2026.
Markus Duesmann, CEO of Audi in a press conference at Spa Francorchamps said, “Audi has officially registered as a Formula One Power Unit manufacturer and will start racing from 2026.”
Recently the FIA - the sport’s governing body - announced new engine regulations that will come into force in 2026 and Duesmann cited it as the reason for Audi to enter the sport which has more electrical power and use of sustainable fuels, which are important for the road-car market.
Formula One also has recently introduced a cost cap from 2021 which has made the sport more attractive to new entrants with the day of unbridled spending not possible anymore.
While Friday’s announcement was only regarding Audi’s role as a power unit supplier, the German marquee has not yet announced which team it will partner with.
Duesmann however confirmed the team will partner with an existing team and not start its chassis division and said an announcement on which team it will partner with will be made by the end of the year.
One team that has been strongly linked with Audi is the Sauber F1 team which races under the Alfa Romeo branding currently. Sauber based in Switzerland has been part of a factory set-up when BMW owned a majority of the stake between 2006 to 2008.
Audi which is part of the wider Volkswagen group is likely to have competition from its sister brand Porsche which is also set to enter the sport in 2026.
Duesmann said Audi and Porsche will have separate and independent programmes and will not share resources
.Formula One is experiencing a huge boom in popularity and Audi’s entry is seen as a vindication of the growing attractiveness of the sport for global manufacturers.