WATCH: Audi to join F1 in 2026 as Sauber engine supplier

New power units will see an increase in electrical power and will exclusively run on sustainable fuel.

German car manufacturer Audi will make its entry into Formula 1 by supplying the engines for the Sauber F1 team from 2026, they said on Wednesday.

Sauber presently race as Alfa Romeo with a Ferrari engine, but they are cutting ties with Alfa Romeo at the end of 2023. They will continue to use the Ferrari engine until the 2026 campaign.

“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,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Audi AG board member responsible for the F1 programme.

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Switzerland-based Sauber – who have just one race win, at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix – in 30 seasons in F1 were delighted to be the first team in Formula 1 to be supplied by Audi.

“To become Audi’s official works team is not only an honour and a great responsibility,” said Sauber Motorsport CEO and Team Principal Fred Vasseur.

“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 1.”

New power units in 2026

The engine will be developed at Audi Sport’s facility near Ingolstadt.

The company heralded the fact back in August when they announced their entry into F1, saying it would be “the first time in more than a decade that a Formula 1 power train will be built in Germany”.

Audi took the decision shortly after it was agreed at FIA’s World Motor Sport Council that new engines, or power units, would be required in F1 by 2026, aimed at greater sustainability. The new motors will increase electrical power by up to 50 percent and use 100 percent sustainable fuel.

Audi also sees enormous potential by being associated with F1 for selling more cars globally.

F1 brings selling potential

“The great interest in Formula 1 is global and the racing series is one of the sporting events with the highest reach in the world,” Audi said.

“In 2021, more than 1.5 billion TV viewers watched the races.

“F1 is popular in key markets such as China and the US and the trend continues to rise, even among young target groups.”

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Audi did race pre-World War II in the European Championship that was the root of F1.

Audi and three other German car manufacturers formed the Auto Union company. They enjoyed their most successful campaign in 1936 when Bernd Rosemeyer won three of the four races, winning the title, with team-mate Hans Stuck second.

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