Rumor: Audi to partner with Sauber in F1 (Confirmed) (2nd Update)

This rumor is finally upgraded to ‘fact’ today.

Sauber Press Release

Sauber Motorsport is proud to announce an agreement with Audi AG for the Sauber Group to become the strategic partner of Audi’s F1 program. Audi AG also plans to acquire a stake in the Sauber Group. After announcing its entry into Formula One as a power unit manufacturer, to coincide with the introduction of the new, innovative engine formula in 2026, Audi has chosen Sauber Motorsport as its works team from the 2026 season onwards.

This partnership will bring the team to new heights, guaranteeing at the same time the long-term future of the company – an entity that boasts a committed workforce, one of Europe’s leading wind tunnels and world-class motorsport manufacturing facilities.

The team will compete in 2024 and 2025 with its current power unit manufacturer, honoring its existing partnership that enabled the team to make major steps forward in competitiveness and stability.

Finn Rausing, Sauber Holding AG Chairman of the Board of Directors: “Audi is the best strategic partner for the Sauber Group. It is clear that we share values and a vision, and we look forward to achieving our common goals in a strong and successful partnership.”

Frédéric Vasseur, Sauber Motorsport CEO & Team Principal: “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. To become Audi’s official works team is not only an honor and a great responsibility: it’s the best option for the future and we are fully confident we can help Audi achieve the objectives they have set for their journey in Formula One.”

Oliver Hoffmann, Audi AG Board Member and Responsible for F1 Program: “We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project. We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team.”

Audi Press Release

The next important milestone on the road to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship has been completed: Audi has selected Sauber as a strategic partner for the project and plans to acquire a stake in the Sauber Group. The partnership will see the traditional Swiss racing team competing as the Audi factory team from 2026 onwards using the power unit developed by Audi for the pinnacle of motorsport.

Stefano Domenicali, Formula 1 President and CEO, Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, and Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG

Following the announcement of its Formula 1 entry at the end of August, Audi’s confirmation of its strategic partner marks the next milestone in the company’s entry into the premier class of motorsport. With around 30 years of competitive experience, Sauber is one of the most renowned and traditional teams in Formula 1. While the power unit will be created at Audi’s Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg an der Donau, Sauber will develop and manufacture the race car at its site in Hinwil (Switzerland). Sauber will also be responsible for planning and executing the race operations.

“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team.” For example, Audi Sport has already regularly used the Sauber Group’s high-tech wind tunnel in Hinwil, just under four hours away by car, during the successful Le Mans era and during the development of the Class 1 touring car for the DTM.

“Sauber is a first-class partner”

“Audi is the best partner for the Sauber Group,” says Finn Rausing, Chairman of Sauber Holding. “It is clear that both companies share the same values and vision. We are looking forward to achieving our common goals with a strong and successful partnership.”

Development of the power unit, which consists of an electric motor, battery, control systems and a combustion engine, is already in full swing at the facility of the specially founded Audi Formula Racing GmbH in Neuburg an der Donau. More than 120 employees are already working on the project. “Sauber is a first-class partner for the use of the Audi Power Unit,” says Adam Baker, managing director of the company. “We are looking forward to working with an experienced team that has helped shape many eras of Formula 1 history. Together, we want to write the next chapter starting in 2026.”

The expansion of the Neuburg facility is in full swing

The timetable up to the first race with Audi participation in the 2026 season is ambitious: The expansion of the Neuburg facility in terms of personnel, buildings and technical infrastructure should be largely in place in 2023. The first tests with the power unit developed for the 2026 regulations in a Formula 1 test car are planned for 2025.

Formula 1 is taking a big step towards sustainability with the new regulations that will come into effect from 2026. This was an important prerequisite for Audi to decide to enter the championship. The power units will be more efficient than they are today, as the proportion of electric power will increase significantly. The electric drivetrain will then have nearly as much power as the internal combustion engine, which comes to 400 kW (544 hp). The highly efficient 1.6-liter turbocharged engines will be powered by sustainable synthetic fuel that is CO2-neutral (according to EU standards). Formula 1 has also set itself the goal of being CO2-neutral as a racing series by 2030.

July 7, 2022 

Rumors are that Audi will acquire 75% of the Sauber team over three years – 25% in 2023, 25% in 2024 and 25% in 2025. The remaining 25 percent will be retained by Finn Rausing who was, at one point, in negotiations with Andretti Global, but that deal fell through when Rausing wanted to retain decision-making power as a minority shareholder.

Audi will begin supplying engines to the team in 2026 and not before.

June 21, 2022 

(GMM) Sauber and Audi are “hiding” the fact that they will team up in a works collaboration in Formula 1 from 2026.

That is the word from an unnamed rival team boss, as the Volkswagen Group holds off on announcing the details of its F1 foray with both the Audi and Porsche brands.

Red Bull is hotly tipped to be powered by Porsche engines.

“There should be an official announcement at Red Bull’s home race on July 10 in Spielberg,” reported veteran Swiss journalist Roger Benoit in Blick newspaper.

As for Audi, several teams are linked with the works deal that will reportedly involve a partial or full buyout of the existing constructor.

One team boss, however, says the deal is already done.

“I don’t understand why Sauber and Audi are still hiding their collaboration,” the unnamed team boss declared.

“Audi secured 25 percent of the shares some time ago. And another 50 percent are to come. This is a really big sum of money,” the source added.

Sauber, currently racing in F1 under the Alfa Romeo brand, is not confirming that.

“For me, Williams is the favorite,” said team boss Frederic Vasseur.

“They have very good relations with VW and Germany.”

Frederic Vasseur. Photo courtesy of the Alfa Romeo F1 team

It is said that both brands are eyeing German drivers, but 40-year-old Spaniard Fernando Alonso hinted in Montreal that he is not ruling out a VW-powered drive in 2026.

German Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, added: “Let’s think about it.

“I don’t know is the answer – it’s a long way away. I’m very much looking at this year, and then the next year rather than 2026.

“But I think it’s good news that there’s talk of new teams like Andretti and big manufacturers coming in,” Vettel added. “F1 seems to grow in popularity so who knows what the sport is going to look like in ’26.”


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