Audi aim for F1 wins by 2028

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In the round-up: Audi expects to be competing to wins by its third season in Formula 1.

In brief

Audi target F1 wins by 2028

Adam Baker, the CEO of Audi Formula Racing, says the manufacturer expects to be competing to wins by its third season in Formula 1. Audi will enter F1 in 2026 as power unit supplier to Sauber.

“We want to be competitive in three years,” Baker told AS. “It is a realistic goal. We want to compete for wins in the third year.

He admitted the manufacturer faces a “challenge” entering the sport in three years’ time, despite the change in power unit regulations which will give it an opportunity to compete with the front-running teams.

“It is attractive for Audi to enter 2026 because we decided on it ahead of time. We have 42 months until the first race. In the last 30 years, it must be one of the most advanced decisions of any manufacturer.

“In addition, in 2026 a regulatory cycle begins, when usually others have entered in the middle of a cycle. The power units will change, but also the chassis. In some ways, it can reset the advantage of experienced competitors in the past, and makes it easier for new builders to be competitive.”

Mercedes Formula E exit due to low viewership – Wolff

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff says the manufacturer departed Formula E due to the viewing audience being too low for the investment put into the team.

Mercedes competed as a factory team in Formula E for three seasons between 2020 and 2022, winning both the teams and drivers’ championships in 2021 and 2022. Mercedes withdrew at the end of the 2022 season, with McLaren taking over the team for 2023.

Speaking to Swiatscigow, Wolff said that Formula 1 has become so popular it has “dwarfed” other series.

“I think that Formula 1 has become so big that everything else has been dwarfed,” Wolff said. “We were really happy, successful in DTM for over 30 years.

“But it has come to a point where the works team, if you wanted to compete, you need 40 or 50 million euros and the return on investment was too small for that. And it’s the same in Formula E. The audiences were just not good enough.

IndyCar’s COTA return dependent on ticket sales

Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein says any potential return by IndyCar will depend on if the series can generate enough tickets sales to make it viable.

The Austin circuit hosted IndyCar only once in 2019. Epstein says he would be happy to see the series return to the circuit, but IndyCar must be able to sell enough tickets.

“It’s a matter of how many tickets you can sell and if IndyCar can sell enough tickets to come to Austin,” Epstein explained. “Are we the theatre, or are we building the sport? It’s not our job to build the sport or the fan base. As much as we would like to, it’s not our job and we don’t have the budget for that.

“I’m a huge IndyCar fan. I would love to see them back here. The numbers just have to work.”

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Comment of the day

As a new feature-length documentary on Jackie Stewart airs on Sky, reader Jeffrey Powell shares their first-hand experience with the three-time champion…

I watched him race on many occasions only in England unfortunately but as a great fan of his good mate Jochen Rindt. My admiration for Stewart was somewhat grudging, having said that when he was on top form which was 99% of the time he was superb, fantastically quick, magically smooth and relentless.

I can understand some people berate him for constantly emphasising the dangers, but you had to be there. When Jochen was killed at Monza I was 20 and thought I was tough but I cried like a small child. When I was 40 my brother paid for us to go to Brands – it was a charity event organised by Stewart. We got to be driven round the Club Circuit by himself – 72 now, one of the magic moments of my life.
Jeffrey Powell

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Alvink and Bryce Metzger!

On this day in motorsport

  • 55 years ago today Jim Clark took what turned out to be the final world championship pole position of his career, for the first race of the 1968 season which took place on January 1st the following day

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23 comments on “Audi aim for F1 wins by 2028”

  1. 2028? Careful now, make sure more than 20 years have passed since Sauber’s last win…

    1. They only need to find a second on the car side while producing a PU on par with Ferrari.

      No big deal. :P

      1. It will be interesting to see what happens when the new rules come into force. It could be all the engine manufacturers will have to do a reset with the new rules, in which case Audi’s disadvantage won’t be so obvious.

  2. Mercedes Formula E exit due to low viewership – Wolff

    A perfect example of how most manufacturers (particularly this one) view motosports series. The are thinking not of the racing, but of the financial return. It is, in every way, a business activity.

    This is exactly why F1 needs to stop focusing so much on manufacturers and put more emphasis on privately run teams.
    F1 exists today more because of teams like Williams, Arrows, Tyrrell and Minardi than it does because of teams like Renault, Mercedes or Ferrari.

    1. Every competitive sport on earth is about making money for someone. Failing that, the sport will cease to exist except at local levels.

      1. I don’t disagree that commercialism is rife in the upper levels of most sports and that money is a necessary evil – however, most sports/sporting codes tend to do a better job of balancing sport and business.

    2. The idea that a car series like F1 can write it’s rules to the deteriment of manufacturer teams is simply unrealistic and a backward step. Like or not, a mix of manufacturers big and small, and privateer team defined loosely, works best for sustainability going forward. The costs involved now are just too great compared to those of the past.

      1. The idea that a car series like F1 can write it’s rules to the deteriment of manufacturer teams is simply unrealistic and a backward step.

        Subjectively speaking.
        F1 could absolutely do it, and the on-track aspect would likely improve as a result – but it would certainly be a very different series to what it has become in recent decades.

        May I remind you of (arguably) F1’s most interesting, competitive and (chassis-wise) diverse era – when most of the field ran varying versions of an off the shelf engine that was commercially available to everyone.
        All they had to do was build their own chassis to put it in, and then take it to the race track and see how it compared to everyone else’s.

        Like or not, a mix of manufacturers big and small, and privateer team defined loosely, works best for sustainability going forward.

        Commercially speaking, that’s absolutely true – but that’s only because of the current structure they operate under.

        The costs involved now are just too great compared to those of the past.

        F1’s biggest fallacy.
        The actual cost to run an F1 team is very small in comparison to their current expenditure – the problem is that a team on such a small budget would be quite slow in comparison to those spending $300m+ (and yes, the big ones are).
        But if everyone were limited to, say, $50m annually – that would open the door to a lot more potential participants, arguable with a lot more passion for the sporting aspect than the finances.
        And it wouldn’t be any less interesting to watch or participate in.

        Regardless, the reality of what F1 has become clouds many people’s ideas of what F1 could be – when it could just as easily have been something else entirely if a few different decisions had been made along the way.
        Just imagine, for a moment, if Mosely’s 40m budget cap proposal had actually been introduced 12 years ago, rather than being rejected by the big teams looking to solidify their dominance and F1’s class system….

        1. S, you immediately run into the problem that the regulations that Mosely proposed were incomplete and were not actually workable in the form in which they were presented, and that seems to have been an intentional decision by the FIA.

          The £40 million headline figure included a significant list of exemptions to that cap – for example, the 2010 season at least would have allowed unlimited expenditure on engine development – and the FIA never came up with any sort of enforcement mechanism or means for actually monitoring the cap, mainly because it seems they never expected it to actually be introduced and therefore never bothered developing those mechanisms for rules they were not intending to actually implement.

          Even Mosely later admitted that the proposal was basically only just developed sufficiently to appear vaguely credible, but wasn’t really a realistic proposal. Instead, the actual objective was to push the teams towards a different agreement that Mosely wanted them to accept (i.e. measures that restricted development hours and cut the allocated mileage for testing) – i.e. proposing a measure that was so extreme that, when offering the proposal he actually thought was realistic, the teams would be pushed into accepting that measure.

          1. Oh yeah, for sure – but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have actually done it if they really wanted to. Some people just would have been very unhappy with it.
            Likewise, the current budget cap wasn’t thought up and implemented in a short timeframe either. Initial proposals were also equally ‘unworkable.’

            Big business negotiation 101 – always demand more than what you actually want.
            Back to my original comment –

            It is, in every way, a business activity.

    3. Hear hear. I have always been in favor of zero room for road car manufacturers in F1. Ferrari was a welcome exception but I would stick to the zero participants that also make road cars. Imho this should be about building a chassis and then getting some kind of power source should be fairly irrelevant. Mercedes icw Liberty have totally institutionalized revenue generation rather than wanting to perform at a sportive event. I feel the time is here to break with FIA and build something closer to the original intend. This is turning into a theme park, some kind of circus.

      1. Ferrari was a welcome exception

        Ferrari, and later also McLaren, started building road cars primarily to fund their racing team.
        Not the other way round, as all F1’s current and future manufacturers are doing.

        I feel the time is here to break with FIA and build something closer to the original intend.

        As much as I’d like that, it will never happen.
        The best we can ever hope for is that a new and different series starts up in parallel, owned by people with extremely deep pockets and an even bigger passion for motorsport and racing engineering.
        And in reality, the only people who’d do it are becoming increasingly unpopular in the global community.

    4. The costs to compete in F1 are extreme, even with the cost cap. Exactly what privateer team is going to exist to enter that? Unless you want the future of the series to be the Musk’s, Bezos’ or Saudi oil king’ teams competing.

      Manufacturers is about the only logical and best outcome compared to that.

      1. The costs to compete in F1 are extreme, even with the cost cap.

        The costs to compete in F1 are whatever the FIA say they are, with the absolute minimum being around the $10-15m range.
        Big teams – particularly manufacturer backed ones – will always spend as much as possible, because they have it available to them to do so. Smaller teams then have to maximise their budgets to compete.
        This chasing of the leader’s expenditure is what lead to the introduction of the cap in the first place. It was, in every sense of the word, unsustainable – in several ways.

        Exactly what privateer team is going to exist to enter that?

        Well, right now there’s Haas, Williams and Sauber… There used to be a lot more – actually most of the teams in F1’s long history have been privateers. Teams that entered for the racing, and were not created specifically to advertise their own brand.
        F1 isn’t looking to attract them, though, because they don’t fit the image they are going for.

        We can say that McLaren were originally a privateer team, as were Ferrari.
        There aren’t many current teams on the grid that don’t have origins as a privateer, to be honest…. The ownership changes, but the teams themselves often last for a very long time.

        If it takes manufacturers and the “Musk’s, Bezos’ or Saudi oil king’s” of the world to have F1, then clearly F1 isn’t as sustainable as you think.

    5. S,
      Ferrari was founded as a private team running Alfas in the old days and racing was the sole purpose of its existing. They started selling road cars in 1947 only to finance their racing activities.

    6. But it’s exactly why the FIA and Liberty focus on the manufacturer teams instead of welcoming racing dynasties like Andretti.

      1. Yep.
        The thing is that manufacturers come and go – but ‘proper’ racing teams tend to stay.

        It’s the same with F1’s audience, really. Short term gains beat the long term every time. No business doing what Liberty do will ever be looking more than a few years ahead.

  3. I don’t fully get the 2010-12 comparison, as those seasons featured largely stable technical rules.

    Nice factory tour, but I’m slightly surprised about the FW43Bs in the workshop unless this drone footage is from last year.

  4. December 2022 + 42 months = June 2026
    If Audi want to win in their first two seasons they need to be really on the ball and have the ability to operate complex machinery. As their operation of a calendar seems dubious, I suggest they are shooting at the moon…

  5. @keithcollantine sorry, this is unrelated to the roundup but couldn’t think where else to ask. Is there a reason I get logged out so frequently? It’s not every time but seems to be fairly often. I wouldn’t mind except for the fact the ads on the mobile site make it impossible to get to the login button unless you’re really quick!

  6. COTD is a great comment. That era is so far removed from today, it’s like different sports all together. My favourite JYS anecdote was from Juan Pablo Montoya who, as a youngster, was driven round brands hatch by Stewart, who was acting as a driving instructor trying to show him how to be smoother behind the wheel. Montoya was very dismissive and thought it was like being driven by a granny – that is until he saw the lap times!

  7. The challenge with private teams vs car manufacturers is just an illusion. The true challenge is cost.
    A private team like Redbull can bring into the competition, vast amounts of money that even some manufactures wouldn’t dare commit to spending.
    The only solution to increased spending is to simplify the rules for engines and chassis.

    1. The only solution to increased spending is to simplify the rules for engines and chassis.

      This doesn’t work either, as the wealthiest teams will still be able to develop the most advanced and refined version with the most bells and whistles on it.
      The only true solution to increased spending (ie, money buying success) is to make F1 a complete spec series in every way, and have all the drivers and other staff assigned to teams on a rotational basis (somewhat like W-series was initially).

      But who would really want to watch a series like that?

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