Sauber will become Audi’s F1 works team in 2026
‘Wait, didn’t we already know that?’ is probably the first thing that sprung into your head when you read the headline. And you’re right, we did already know that Audi was entering F1 and we were 99.9 per cent sure it would do so with the Sauber team currently sponsored by Alfa Romeo.
Well, now Audi has officially confirmed the above, which makes it New News. It plans to buy a stake in Sauber to transform it into a full works team for 2026, with work already underway on an Audi engine built to the new set of V6 turbo hybrid regulations agreed earlier this year.
Meanwhile Alfa Romeo - which is currently the title sponsor of the Switzerland-based team, having never been involved in the actual engineering side of things - is set to disappear from F1 at the end of next season.
To bridge the gap between then and the arrival of the Audi powertrain, Sauber will continue to use engines supplied by Ferrari in 2024 and 2025.
“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,” said Oliver Hoffmann, the Audi AG Board Member responsible for the F1 programme. “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.”
Meanwhile team principal Frederic Vasseur said: “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 honour 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.”
Earlier this year we thought sister brand Porsche would also be deep into its F1 entry preparations by now, but its proposed tie-up with Red Bull is no longer on the cards. Could they end up doing a deal with Williams instead?
TEXT Joe Holding