Audi confirms 2026 F1 entry as engine manufacturer

2026 F1 season

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Audi’s entry into Formula 1 in 2026 has finally been officially confirmed.

The news was announced in a press conference at Spa-Francorchamps this morning. FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, Audi chairman Markus Duesmann and chief technical officer Oliver Hoffmann were present.

Audi will join F1 as an engine supplier when the series introduces its new power unit formula in 2026. The regulations were confirmed by the FIA earlier this month.

“I want to officially announce that Audi has officially registered as PU [power unit] Formula 1 manufacturer,” said Duesmann. “So we will, in 2026, start racing in F1.”

“Racing motorsport is in the DNA of Audi,” Duesmann explained. “Audi has always been active and ben successful in motor racing.”

Audi has previously enjoyed success in the Le Mans 24 Hours, DTM, Formula E and other categories. “We want to continue this success story now in Formula 1,” said Duesmann.

“I think it’s a perfect timing, due to the new rules that were established, for us to enter F1. There are many aspects.

“One, we have decided to be a full electric car manufacturer. And F1 did change the routes in a way that we can hunt with a very high electric part of the power train with renewable fuels. And Formula 1 have installed a cost cap that makes it very attractive for us to enter now.”

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Audi will build its F1 power unit at its Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg an der Donau, near the company headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany. The facility has suitable test benches for developing F1-specification engines as well as electric motors and batteries.

Feature: Audi’s winning record across motorsport makes an F1 entry a thrilling possibility
“For the development and manufacture of the Formula 1 power train, we will build on the valuable expertise of our motorsport employees, continue to invest in our motorsports centre, and also recruit highly specialised professionals,” said managing director Julius Seebach in a statement.

Adam Baker, who joined Audi from the FIA last year, will run the F1 project as CEO. The manufacturer is yet to confirm who it will supply its engines to. It is widely rumoured to be in the process of agreeing terms with Sauber, whose operation is currently branded by Alfa Romeo and uses Ferrari motors.

Domenicali said F1 had attracted the interest of “an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator.”

“This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow,” he continued. “It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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57 comments on “Audi confirms 2026 F1 entry as engine manufacturer”

  1. Cheaters and environment polluters joining F1, what a great fit!

    1. perfect comment to that username.

      At least they build quality cars.

        1. Crazy how high Skoda is and how low Audi is.

        2. Of course there are many ratings and newer ones than 2018.
          I always pick the one with my preferred brand on top

          But more importantly those ratings all approach it differently and few (if any) pass muster as an academic research.

    2. Any new entrant of any type in F1 should always be welcome, no matter their sporting and business character, so long as they don’t displace another too often.

      Although I do wonder why the anti dilution fee doesn’t apply to power unit manufacturers, or does it? Someone enlighten me.

      Talking of new entrants, anti dilution fees, sporting and business character, I’d much rather be reading about a new Andretti Team entry than an Audi one. We need more cars on the grid for so many reasons.

      Andretti are real racers and get me excited. Audi just leave me a bit cold. Just a personal thing I guess.

      1. Although I do wonder why the anti dilution fee doesn’t apply to power unit manufacturers, or does it? Someone enlighten me.

        The $200m anti-dilution fee applies to constructors (teams) – not to engine suppliers.
        Likewise, it doesn’t apply when an existing team changes hands. It’s about the total number of teams, not who actually owns them.
        If an 11th team entered, then they would need to split prize and commercial money 11 ways, rather than 10.
        And we can’t have that. Apparently.

      2. And as FOM only distributes prize money to teams (not PU manufacturers) an anti dilution fee is not applicable in this case.

  2. Sauber Audi doesn’t sound right. It is like the 90s when Larrousse Lamborghini’s and other small companies powered by a car company

      1. @eurobrun came here to say this

      2. Constantijn Blondel
        26th August 2022, 8:38

        L-O-L :D

      3. In that case I expect Aramco to join as title sponsor.

  3. McLaren Audi?
    Aston Audi?

    1. Andretti Audi. What would Liberty and the teams do then?

      1. @red-andy Andretti can stay in America where they belong.

    2. The talk is that the likeliest is Sauber Audi.

      Audi CEO talked they’d prefer a german driver so my guess is that Mick Schumacher will move to current Alfa Romeo Sauber who will after a few years become Audi Sauber.

  4. “Racing motorsport is in the DNA of Audi.”

    I do wish marketing people could come up with something more imaginative. Obviously the Quattro is iconic – but DNA is in literally every living thing ever, and pretty much every auto brand has competed in some sort of motorsport in the last 100 years. I can’t think of many brands that couldn’t make this vague claim. Perhaps Rolls Royce or Kia.

    Sorry to be a grump, happy they’re joining the party regardless.

    1. +1 they have had a couple of weeks.. to come up with a more original statement.

    2. there was a Rolls in Dakar and they race Kia in many, many touring car series around the globe

      1. @uneedafinn2win yeah, I regretted putting Kia as soon as I posted it. I didn’t know Rolls had been in Paris – Dakar though, that’s a pretty cool thing to know.

        Still struggling to think of any brands that haven’t completed at some point.

    3. Completely agree on this one. I would say the Quattro was iconic also thanks to the rivalry with the Lancia guys who managed to beat Audi with the 037 the last rear-wheel drive car ever to win the world rally championship.

    4. @bernasaurus
      I agree it’s a tacky phrase.. But I still feel Audi can claim heritage from it’s Auto Union history with wins by names like Stuck and Nuvolari. That’s something.

    5. @bernasaurus Le Mans? DTM? Well that’s about it + The Quattro. They have some legacy and more than nothing but that “DNA slogan” is better than announcing “We are coming to F1 to win!” ;)

  5. some racing fan
    26th August 2022, 8:35

    Maybe they could badge their engines as Bugatti engines?

    1. Very unlikely. They will have two separate powertrain operations in Porsche and Audi.

      Bugatti has so low numbers it does not really make sense to expend money for marketing. Audi and Porsche both have mass market cars so being visible is important.

  6. Auto Union is back!!!

  7. So, Ferrari and Mercedes are expected to stay I guess. We also have Renault and now Audi. Porsche is also joining. Honda may leave. (but Red Bull may build their own engines) That’s 5 or 6 engine manufacturers for 10 teams. Surely there is room for more teams PU-wise. Although, having 1 or 2 teams per engine manufacturer has its own charm.

    1. I mean, Honda has left already but their engines are still winning races.

      1. @f1mre Honda is staying till the end of 2025 they build and maintain the PUs as they have in the past.

        1. Honda really have the weirdest possible marketing strategy.

          1. I would call it adaptive marketing strategy

    2. Honda/Red Bull will become Porsche. Audi CEO said Porsche will build engines in UK, while Audi is building a new factory in Germany.

      Then he corrected himself and said “if Porsche joins” but it sounds to me like it is a done deal, he was not really shy about it. This means Honda/Red Bull Powertrains become Porsche.

    3. Mercedes supply 4 teams at the moment so I guess this might reduce to 3 or even 2. Ferrari will probably reduce to 2 if Audi take over the supply of Sauber engines. So we might have Merc 3/2, Ferrari 2, Porsche 2 (Red Bull and AT), Audi 2/1 then Renault 1. Or maybe Renault will go up by 1?

  8. Only as a PU supplier? If Porsche also plan on joining then VW Group will be developing 2 PUs independently which doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to me.

    I was always of the view that Audi would join as a full entrant, presumedly through a Sauber buyout.

    1. @chimaera2003 Audi could link up with Sauber with a full buyout later?

      1. @johnrkh I presume this is what will happen, just would have thought it would have made more sense to finish that tie up and then announce since. Announcing an intention to develop a PU weakens your negotiation position.

        Maybe Liberty/FIA wanted some upfront positive PR spin regarding the 2026 PU regulation announcement. If that is the case then Audi will have got something in return.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          26th August 2022, 10:25

          @chimaera2003 – For all we know, the agreement could already be in place but as we’re over 3 years away from them entering, they may not want to have an Audi branded team using another manufacturer’s engines.

    2. Audi CEO talked about two separate PU divisions.

      He said they are doing it separately. They had two LMP1 programmes as well and it was not an issue. The difference is that Audi will be building everything in Germany (new factory) while Porsche will build their engines in UK (probably Red Bull Powertrains).

      Also I don’t think he was saying they will buy out the team. They were quite specific about it being a powertrain. According to him they are still deciding which team they will partner with (or buy out).

      1. I am not convinced that Audi will want to commit to F1 with all the associated expense without the chance of winning championships. They won’t want to be comprehensively outcompeted by Mercedes on a regular basis, especially as they are a direct(ish) competitor in the consumer car market.

        Therefore I would have anticipated that they would want everything under their control. If that is the case then a buy-out or complete new team would be the plan.

        1. From what he said, they don’t want to go down the new team option. He did not say it is out of the question but their preferred entry is onto an existing car.

      2. They had two LMP1 programmes as well and it was not an issue.

        It became very expensive, especially considering the small number of races and limited public profile of the WEC, with budgets becoming increasingly unsustainable. Now with the ACO there’s always room for a few shenanigans to keep everything sort of equal and competitive, but together Peugeot, Audi, Porsche and Toyota priced everyone else out of LMP1. Of course that might not have caused Audi to leave if they had not had their own peculiar issues beyond costs, i.e. the Diesel scam that forced them to play ‘green’ in Formula E for a bit.

        1. F1 has a cost cap. This is probably what will make it sustainable.

  9. “I think it’s a perfect timing, due to the new rules that were established, for us to enter F1.”

    Let me fix that, just for a laugh:

    “I think it’s a perfect timing, due to the new rules that were established for us to enter F1.”

    Oh, how magic does a comma feel :)

    1. Quite – I wonder how happy some here will be when they see how heavily the performance of the 2026 power units are being downrated by thanks to VW’s demands.

      1. Indeed.

        The 2026 engines are going to be awful. Fast for a few seconds on straights and slower everywhere else.

    2. Great catch! Be that as it may, at least six manufacturers is better than four if for no other reason than that it’ll be harder for them to agree on things to the detriment of the series.

      I wonder if Audi had to accept a ‘mere’ supplier role due to Porsche’s expected partnership with Red Bull. Having one VW engine supplier and one VW full team would skew things pretty heavily in the latter’s favour, marketing-wise. That said, for Audi and Porsche to go up against their perennial competitor Mercedes without full control over the product is perhaps a bit of a risk.

  10. The latest attempt by F1 to allow cars to follow more closely.

  11. VW seems very aggressive by entering two of their brands at the same time, perhaps in a similar capacity (engine suppliers).

    Both Audi and Porsche have fantastic history in motorsport and their achievements/technology in endurance series is something that makes both entrants very promising.

    Seeing two VW engineering teams compete head-to-head will be glorious, may the strongest survive. :)

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      26th August 2022, 10:22

      I wonder just how “head-to-head” it’ll be or whether this is potentially a clever move to guarantee that 3 teams will be running VW engines…..

  12. This increases the investment by car manufacturers in F1 but doesn’t really broaden the base, in fact it narrows the power train base and makes all of the grid (when things have settled down with Audi and Porsche) subject to engine suppliers in the EU and so subject to any new environmental, commercial or similar laws or restraints the EU introduces.

    What F1 needs more than yet another engine manufacturer or two, is more teams. Too many teams and there is a risk of some being so small as to fail, but two more non-car- manufacturer teams would make all the difference to the spirit and authenticity of the series.

    Car manufacturers’ teams will tend, like Ferrari, to see F1 as replacing or reducing the advertising, promotion and image creation budget. And if that becomes the norm then the series will even more quickly degenerate with everything directed at creating a spectacle and little for the sport.

    1. Oh! I had not read your post before making mine. We more or less say the same thing

  13. Ok, so with Audi mentioning it will announce its plans for teams by the end of the year, and now Alfa Romeo confirming they will stop being Sauber partners at the end of the 2023 season, I guess those two things have a clear relationship between them!

  14. On paper this is a very good thing another major brand committed to F1 for a few years or much longer.
    The true question is if we have become too attached to brands and have placed our trust in these brands such that we can not think of an exixtence without them.
    There is an argument for or against independent teams with no immediate clear winner. Perhaps there does exist a clear winner in these arguments but it is drowned out by the need for identifiable variety. After all an independent team is virtually anonymous to an international audience, but an established brand is immediately identifiable.
    Essentially, F1 is drifting away from sporting competition to brand competition or wars.

  15. On one hand it’s a positive but on the other the bending over backwards to attract the big manufacturer’s at the expense of independent engine builders is something I don’t like & is something that will inevitably come back to bite them when the manufacturer’s opt to leave.

    Yes F1 is in a better position financially now with the cost cap & other spending restrictions, But the manufacturer’s who’s entry tends to be reliant on the opinions of board members, Some of whom don’t always see the same value of there entry as others & it’s been that (Among other things) just as much as the financial situation that has seen then come & go in the past.

  16. Another addition to Sauber’s impressive collection of automotive brands:
    BMW, Ferrari (extra points for using both at once in 2010)
    Honda (hastily canned for “strategic reasons” but it still counts)
    Alfa Romeo
    wonder if they’ll get another one in before…

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