Audi's F1 plans take shape as announcement looms – Motorsport.com

But amid growing indications that confirmation of their intentions for 2026 is now imminent, Audi may be the first to reveal its plans and could do so as early as this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
After months of discussions to sort out a partner team, it is understood that an agreement is now in place between Audi and the Sauber team, which currently competes under the Alfa Romeo moniker.
Audi had originally negotiated with McLaren about a takeover of team shares, having been initially put in touch with the team and its owners through former McLaren F1 racer Gerhard Berger.
“I established the contact with McLaren,” said the DTM boss. “McLaren would have been a candidate as a partner for Audi in Formula 1.”
But the talks between McLaren’s owners, the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, and Audi ultimately came to nothing. In the end, Sauber emerged as the preferred candidate following an evaluation of Aston Martin and Williams.
Discussions have now advanced with Sauber, after its owner Finn Rausing previously rejected an offer from Michael Andretti to sell the team for 350 million euro at the end of 2021.
It was suggested that Rausing insisted on the continued existence of the Sauber Group at the Hinwil site and the preservation of jobs, and also demanded a further 250 million euro as a contribution to the team in order to be sure the team was in safe hands.
In the end, Andretti walked away because of terms it could not accept.
Factory plans
With Audi, Sauber is getting a strong partner who, according to sources, is prepared to pay more than Andretti for a smaller percentage of the company. Rausing is set to remain on board as a minority owner.
There is also the promise to further develop Sauber as a factory team, very similar to how the Sauber-BMW partnership worked between 2006 and 2009.
It’s interesting to note that current Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, who has pushed the brand’s F1 entry, was head of development at the BMW-Sauber team between 2007 and 2009 and still knows the Hinwil operation from back then.
The Sauber factory
Photo by: Motorsport Images
Motorsport.com understands that the plan includes continuing to build the chassis in Hinwil, where one of F1’s most modern wind tunnels is still located.
The powertrain is to be created at Audi’s site in Neuburg and thus developed and produced on German soil.
This is unlike VW Group sister company Porsche, which will develop large parts of its engine at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes powertrains division.
Like Porsche, Audi is to set up a new company for its F1 project. There are suggestions that Adam Baker, whom Audi hired at the end of 2021 for “special tasks,” is set for a managing director role.
Baker previously worked at BMW, where he first met Duesmann, and at the FIA.
Another obvious candidate for the post would have been the current head of sport Julius Seebach, who as CEO of Audi Sport is more experienced in higher management than Baker.
However, it is understood that Seebach is about to be replaced and has been linked with a newly created position in Audi’s development department.
Red Bull Porsche delay
While Audi’s plans are making good progress, a public announcement about Red Bull and Porsche’s tie-up has not happened as quickly as some had anticipated.
For weeks, it was explained that delays in finalising the 2026 engine rules were cited as the reason that neither car company wanted to commit until they were sure about the regulations.
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko told Motorsport.com at the Hungarian GP: “VW’s board decision is that if the technical regulations meet the criteria, then they have the mandate to go into Formula 1.
Porsche GT Team logo
Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt
“Purely formally, however, these new regulations do not yet exist. The FIA president is supposedly going to put it to the vote in an email ballot soon. Only then will it officially start.”
The engine rules were subsequently signed off on 16 August, but there is still no indication of when an official communication from Red Bull and Porsche will be made.
However, a recent document published by anti-cartel authorities in Morocco relating to the Porsche/Red Bull tie-up has indicated that it will wait until 30 August for any feedback from interested parties before giving its green light to the plan.
It is possible that only then will Porsche feel everything is in place for it to go public with its ambitions.
Additional reporting by Sven Haidinger
Ricciardo: “No regrets” over F1 time at McLaren despite early split
McLaren confident about Ricciardo F1 replacement despite Piastri dispute
FIA should have red-flagged F1 Italian GP, says Horner
Red Bull’s VSC plan shows Ferrari’s F1 strategy call not wrong in Italian GP
The Alpine success story that’s been overshadowed by its driver market chaos
How Sauber twice saved itself from the brink of extinction
Arthur Leclerc joins Sauber junior team
The fight to get a prodigy on the F1 grid
FIA should have red-flagged F1 Italian GP, says Horner
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner thinks the FIA should have red-flagged Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix to avoid a safety car finish.
Ten things we learned at the 2022 F1 Italian Grand Prix
As Max Verstappen’s bid to claim a second Formula 1 title gathers steam, the Italian Grand Prix played host to a fifth consecutive win for the Dutchman. It also featured safety car controversy, a true super-sub appearance and more silly season twists. Here’s the 10 things we learned from the race at Monza
Wolff: Abu Dhabi gave FIA confidence to make right Monza F1 calls
Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has backed the decisions made by FIA officials in race control at the end of the Italian Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s VSC plan shows Ferrari’s F1 strategy call not wrong in Italian GP
Red Bull has revealed that it would have stopped Max Verstappen during the early VSC period at Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix if then leader Charles Leclerc had not pitted.
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022
As Monza celebrated its 100th anniversary, the Temple of Speed witnessed two perfect 10s notched up by a pair of Dutch dynamites at this year’s Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix. But once again there were notable strugglers who would have been hoping for more
Why Verstappen would have beaten Leclerc without safety car help
The controversy which followed the Italian Grand Prix ending behind the safety car and gift wrapping Max Verstappen victory was expected. But, digging into the details of the situation, the Red Bull driver always looked strong favourite in his Monza masterclass regardless of how the Formula 1 race concluded
Why Ferrari’s Monza practice pace flatters its chances of home success
With the pressure very much on at its home grand prix at Monza, Ferrari showed strong form and headed both practice sessions on Friday. But with Red Bull yet to show its full hand, the pace of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz could merely flatter Ferrari as the Italian Grand Prix enters its more critical stages…
The Alpine success story that’s been overshadowed by its driver market chaos
OPINION: The Alpine Formula 1 team has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late following its contract dispute with Oscar Piastri. On track though, the Enstone-based squad is improving its A522 in a methodical and impressive fashion which is yielding results
Can Verstappen break the record for most wins in an F1 season?
OPINION: With a 109-point lead leaving Zandvoort, Max Verstappen’s second Formula 1 title triumph feels ever-more inevitable and that comes with the likelihood he’ll break a famous and long-standing record too. But, as Verstappen himself suggests, that doesn’t paint the true picture of the 2022 campaign.
The culture clash at the heart of Red Bull’s stalled Porsche partnership
OPINION: From the moment talk of Red Bull teaming up with Porsche in Formula 1 started it sounded like a match made in heaven. But as the situation became clearer the devil in the detail put the partnership into doubt, with the two sides wanting different things
Dutch Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022
The rollercoaster Zandvoort track is a stern test of Formula 1 cars in high-downforce configuration, and for drivers is one of the year’s most challenging venues. A thrilling Dutch Grand Prix produced a popular home winner, but there were several excellent performances up and down the field
How Mercedes overcame Ferrari to become Verstappen’s 2022 Dutch GP win challengers
Just 0.021 seconds had split Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix on Saturday. But come the race, the Monegasque’s Ferrari was always playing catchup, while a strategic gamble from Mercedes meant Lewis Hamilton came closest to denying Verstappen’s marauding Red Bull a fourth win on the trot


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like