Following the official announcement of its entry into Formula 1 in 2026 last August, Audi confirmed Wednesday that Swiss Team Sauber is lining up with the German manufacturer on a strategic partnership.
By that time, new technical rules will come into effect, focussing on greater electrification - increasing the power unit’s electric share by up to 50 percent - and the use of advanced sustainable synthetic fuel as the series also targets to become more cost-efficient.
Formula One has set itself the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral racing series by 2030.
Adam Baker, a trained engineer who joined Audi in 2021, has taken over the management of Audi Formula Racing GmbH, a company specially founded for the power unit project as a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi Sport.
Baker, who will also take on the role of CEO of the Formula 1 project, spoke about the new partnership, commenting: “Sauber is a first-class partner for the use of the Audi Power Unit. We look forward to working with an experienced team that has helped shape many eras of Formula 1 history. Together, we want to write the next chapter starting in 2026.”
For the first time in over a decade, a Formula One power train will be built in Germany at Audi’s Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg an der Donau.
The facility will expand in terms of infrastructure and personnel; the goal is for the essential technical infrastructure to be in place to a large extent in 2023.
Meanwhile, benches for Formual One engine testing, electric motor, battery, and control systems testing, are already taking place.
Moreover, Audi is planning the first tests with the 2026 power unit in a Formula 1 test car for 2025.
Sauber will be in charge of developing and manufacturing the race car at its headquarters in Hinwil, Switzerland, and will also be responsible for planning and executing the race operations.
“Audi is the best partner for the Sauber Group,” outlined Finn Rausing, Chairman of Sauber Holding. “It is clear that both companies share the same values and vision. We look forward to achieving our common goals with a strong and successful partnership.”
Oliver Hoffmann, a Member of the Board for Technical Development at AUDI AG, also stressed: “We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project.”
“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.”
The teams are no strangers, having cooperated on previous occasions when Audi Sport regularly used the Sauber Group’s high-tech wind tunnel during the Le Mans era as during the development of Class 1 touring car for the DTM series.
As part of the strategic partnership with Sauber, Audi plans to acquire a stake in the Group.