Audi has made its first driver hiring for its new team which will enter Formula 1 in 2026.
The German marque will compete in F1 for the first time when the series’ new power unit regulations come into effect in three years’ time. Sauber, which currently races as Alfa Romeo, will partner with Audi and become their factory outfit in the world championship.
Audi’s announcement is the latest step in their design and development of their 1.6-litre V6 turbo power unit after work on a specialist facility to produce their engine began at their Neuburg site.
Jani won the World Endurance Championship with Porsche in the LMP1 category in 2016 as well as that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours along with co-drivers Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, famously taking the win on the final lap after the leading Toyota stopped on track with a failure.
Audi’s new hiring has extensive Formula 1 test and simulator experience, having acted at reserve driver at Red Bull. Jani also participated in every practice session for Toro Rosso in 2006.
Audi’s member of the board of management for technical development, Oliver Hoffman, said that simulator work would be critical to developing their first ever F1 power train.
“Just like in production development, simulation plays a major role in our Formula 1 project,” said Hoffman. “Our simulator is an important tool for the power unit development. It requires a development driver who in addition to a grasp of technology brings versatile experience to the project, especially in terms of energy management in racing conditions.”
Jani said “it is both an honour and a great responsibility to be involved in a project of this magnitude at an early stage.
“I am sure that with my experience from Formula 1 and LMP projects I can forge good links between theory and practice.”
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