Audi begins F1 engine development and aims to run full hybrid unit this year

Formula 1

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Audi have provided an update on the progress of their Formula 1 project at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition.

The German manufacturer presented its show car at the event under the slogan “F1 power made in Germany.” CEO Markus Duesmann and Oliver Hoffmann, a member of the brand’s management board for technical development, spoke to an audience in Audi’s biggest market for car sales.

Hoffmann revealed the progress Audi has made with the development of its F1 technology ahead of its 2026 entry into the world championship.

“The Audi F1 project has really taken off in recent months,” he said. “In the ongoing concept phase of the power unit, the foundation of our drivetrain for 2026 is being laid today. We attach great importance to detail work, for example on materials or manufacturing technologies, and we also focus on topics such as the energy management of the hybrid drivetrain.”

The drivetrain that has been worked on so far is a single-cylinder engine that has been active on test beds since the end of last year. The development of the test beds themselves is also an important part of the work being done before the complex engines begin to run.

Audi aims to have a full hybrid drivetrain, including all of the elements of a power unit that would go into an F1 car, to be tested before the end of this year. It intends elements of that model to be used in the development of other projects in its automotive portfolio. But to be ready for that, Audi has revealed its “dynamic development simulator in Neuburg” has to “be brought up to F1 standards” first.

To achieve that, there will be new test rigs built in addition to upgrading of current ones, with a target date of early 2024 for completion.

A team of 260 people in total are working on the F1 project, with several hires from the world championship in addition to the wide-ranging expertise the company already has across its many other projects. The headcount is expected to grow beyond 300 by 2023, when Audi expects its F1 workforce to be complete.

While China is a vital market for Audi, its round of the world championship has not been held since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are convinced that our Formula 1 commitment will strengthen Audi’s sporting focus,” said Duesmann. “The racing series is continuously increasing its global reach, especially among young target groups and in our most important sales market: China.”

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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10 comments on “Audi begins F1 engine development and aims to run full hybrid unit this year”

  1. Audi – only in Formula 1 because the four existing PU suppliers agreed to drop the one thing making F1 engines special and highly efficient.

    Because Audi couldn’t hack it.

    And they are the good guys in Volkswagen’s assault on Formula 1.

    1. Well, and they (Audi+VW) needed a retirement/motivational plan for the engineers they still employ to do ICE development (and hybrid stuff) too, what with Audi having already stopped development of such engines for their road cars a while back.

    2. I don’t get why they don’t go back to strictly ICE after that. Losing the whole point of the engines and then keeping the ancillaries just doesn’t make sense except in the world of F1.

  2. This is all subject to the cost cap right? /s

    1. Not the regular cost cap, I don’t think @foodo1, but the engine manufacturers did agree some kind of maximum on spending on the engines.

    2. Of course it does, F1 has an engine cost cap for the new engine specs.

  3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    18th April 2023, 17:45

    We’ve been talking about Audi for a while now. When are they joining?

    There’s even talk of drivers being linked with them which is ridiculous if they plan to join in the 2525.

  4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    18th April 2023, 17:46

    Oh gosh

  5. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    18th April 2023, 18:18

    This is where I fell Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes is at something of a disadvantage compared to Audi, ORBR and whoever joins F1 in 2026 with a new engine. Those three will still be working hard on reliability issues but somehow have to split the work load to make the new engine and electric system.

    1. I would say it’s give and take. The engine freeze would take most of the workload off while they are still ahead of Audi even minus the MGU-H and having to work on some reliability. Audi’s/others main advantage would be in the cost cap department where they have higher ones due to the rule giving that to new engine manufacturers.

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