Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by SPN Editor
In a surprising turn of events, Audi has decided to pump the brakes on its eagerly anticipated foray into Formula One. The bombshell revelation comes courtesy of German news outlet Spiegel, which cites insider sources within Volkswagen, Audi’s parent company.
The sudden shift in direction regarding Audi’s entry into the pinnacle of motorsport can be attributed to a series of recent developments. This includes a significant management shakeup and cost-cutting measures at Volkswagen, prompting a thorough reevaluation of Audi’s ambitious plans for Formula One.
When pressed for an official statement, Audi confirmed that their management and supervisory boards, in alignment with Volkswagen, had indeed given the green light to the Formula One project. However, the company maintained that the project’s timeline remains unaltered, at least for the time being.
Let’s rewind to a year ago when Audi made waves by announcing their intention to join Formula One by 2026. The grand plan involved forming a partnership with an existing Formula One team and introducing a cutting-edge German-built power unit into the mix.
The driving force behind this audacious endeavor was Markus Duesmann, the former boss at Audi. However, the winds of change blew through Audi’s leadership in early September, with Duesmann being succeeded by Gernot Doellner. This leadership transition has left many pondering if it played a pivotal role in the newfound uncertainty surrounding the project.
While Audi remains notably tight-lipped about the specific reasons for this abrupt about-face, the news has sent shockwaves through the motorsport community. Fans and industry insiders are left to ponder the fate of Audi’s dream of conquering Formula One. Will they overcome this setback and get their racing ambitions back on track, or will the checkered flag elude them for the foreseeable future?
As this fast-paced drama unfolds, the world of Formula One finds itself at another critical juncture. With Audi’s future in the sport hanging in the balance, the motorsport community eagerly awaits further developments.
Last year in 2022, Audi’s plans are set in motion with the development of a new power unit to be constructed at its Neuburg center. Notably, the entire Formula One venture will be orchestrated by a new company wholly owned by Audi Sport, under the capable leadership of Adam Baker. Baker, who joined Audi in 2021, boasts a noteworthy background, having spent three years working at the FIA, the international motorsport governing body.
Audi has disclosed its intention to join the Formula One grid as a power unit manufacturer. They plan to unveil the identity of the team they will be partnering with for the 2026 season by the end of this year. Speculation is rife that Audi might take the reins of the existing Sauber team, which is currently sponsored by Alfa Romeo, effectively transforming it into a full works entry.
Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board at Audi, emphasized the company’s deep-rooted connection to motorsport, stating, “Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA. F1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory.
The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula One and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals.”
The new regulations, while retaining the familiar 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine, usher in significant changes. They emphasize increased electrification, with up to half of the power output of the powertrain expected to come from electric sources, alongside the use of advanced sustainable fuels. Additionally, a cost cap for power unit manufacturers will be introduced next year, aligning with the existing cost cap for teams.
Formula One, as a whole, is committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030, further underscoring the sport’s dedication to sustainability and innovation. Audi’s entry into this exciting era of F1 promises to add a new dimension to the sport, offering fans and enthusiasts a fresh spectacle to look forward to.