Gernot Doellner, CEO AUDI AG, Vorstandsvorsitzender der Audi AG

Formula 1 News: More management turmoil in Audi’s F1 project (Update)

(GMM) Audi appears to be ramping up rather than wriggling out of its commitment to enter Formula 1 for 2026.

Just a few days ago, there was talk of more upper management turmoil at the Volkswagen-owned German marque, but Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi affirmed the “strong commitment of the Audi Group”.

Indeed, Audi made the decision to enter F1 by acquiring a 75 percent stake in the Swiss team Sauber back in late 2022, with some equity having already changed hands.

And now, Bloomberg reports that Audi is in fact ramping up its earlier plans, with the goal now of acquiring full 100 percent ownership of Sauber.

When asked about this, a Sauber spokesman said Audi acquiring a stake is “an important milestone on the way to Audi’s entry in Formula 1 in 2026, for which the Sauber Group will be the brand’s strategic partner and its works team”.

“We do not further comment about the team’s shareholding structure at this time,” he added.

Sauber currently races officially in F1 as ‘Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber’.

February 23, 2024 

(GMM) More talk of management turmoil at Audi has emerged, once again putting a cloud over the Volkswagen brand’s earlier decision to enter Formula 1 in 2026.

Earlier, the removal as Audi CEO of Markus Duesmann – an architect of the decision to pair with and take over Sauber – raised questions about the health of the project.

He was replaced by Gernot Dollner (shown above), who is believed to be no keen supporter of Formula 1 – and now at loggerheads with chief technical officer Oliver Hoffman, according to the major German newspapers Bild and Handelsblatt.

The reports suggest Dollner wants to oust Hoffman, who may then be pushed off to the F1 project. However, Sauber’s transition to Audi is already been overseen by Andreas Seidl.

Oliver Hoffmann - Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG Technical Development
Oliver Hoffmann – Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG Technical Development

Early rumors at the Bahrain test suggest Seidl, also a former McLaren team boss, might therefore become a target for Red Bull if Christian Horner is ousted.

The matter could develop further at an Audi supervisory board meeting as soon as Thursday, although a spokesman for Audi told Bild: “As a general rule, we do not comment on personnel matters.”

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