New Audi CEO says manufacturer’s entry into Formula 1 will go ahead

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Gernot Döllner, who took over as the CEO of Audi in September, has said the manufacturer will go ahead with its planned entry into Formula 1 in 2026.

Audi’s entry into F1 was announced in August 2022 when Döllner’s predecessor Markus Duesmann was in charge at the German brand. The manufacturer’s arrival is due to coincide with the introduction of F1’s next change in engine regulations.

It will enter with Sauber, which completed its final season under Alfa Romeo’s branding this year. The change in leadership at Audi in the meantime prompted speculation it would abandon its plans to enter the series.

However Döllner has now given the first indication he will not change course on Audi’s entry into F1. “There is a clear decision from the board, from the supervisory boards of Audi and Volkswagen, that Audi will enter Formula 1 in 2026,” he told Handelsblatt. “The plan stands.”

Audi’s fellow Volkswagen Group brand Porsche previously announced it intended to enter F1 as well. But it cancelled the project after failing to agree a deal with Red Bull.

While still competing as Alfa Romeo, Sauber representatives have repeatedly dismissed claims Audi had gotten cold feet about its F1 project.

“Audi has a strong commitment to Formula 1 and of course together with Sauber,” said the team’s representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi “This commitment comes from a decision not only of the board of Audi but also the advisory board of Audi and the supervisory board of Audi Volkswagen. So it is a group decision and the commitment is there.”

After announcing its plan to enter F1 Audi began building an extension to its engine factory in order to develop a power unit to meet the new regulations for 2026. It also Audi purchased a minority stake in Sauber at the beginning of the year.

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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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15 comments on “New Audi CEO says manufacturer’s entry into Formula 1 will go ahead”

  1. Coventry Climax
    14th December 2023, 11:27

    Two things make me laugh:
    Vorstandsvorzitzender Man what a word.
    Handlesblatt I don’t think that’s the correct name for the newspaper, Keith.

    On the subject: Seems like everyone is full of expectation. We’ll see where they stand at the end of ’26.

    1. Vorstandsvorsitzende durch Technik.

      1. Coventry Climax
        14th December 2023, 14:21

        von der Audi AktienGesellschaft!
        Die technik der Audi ist aber nichts warauf mann sich himmelhoch jauzend freuen sollte. Es ist nichts weiter als ein teurer VauWeh. Vor manche teilen sollen die sich sogar schämen.

        La prochaine fois, je répondrai en français.

        1. Coventry Climax
          14th December 2023, 14:40

          Audi on position 29 out of 32, regarding reliability of car brands, according to a J.D. Power (American) 2023 survey.
          That’s 14 positions lower than the industry average.
          According to a Durch survey, Audi takes position 8 of least reliable brands.
          According to top gear, Audi is the second most unreliable brand.

          Vorsprung durch technik is their slogan, makes you wonder about either their vorsprung or their technik.

          It does make clear however, why they would want to polish up their brand a bit.

    2. Coventry Climax
      14th December 2023, 14:25

      I see the newspaper name was corrected.

    3. Vorstandsvorzitzender Man what a word.

      Not sure that Chief Executive Officer is any less weird.

      1. Coventry Climax
        14th December 2023, 18:15

        That’s probably why everyone calls it CEO. Do they use VV in Germany?
        What struck me as odd, is that AktienGesellschaft(!) is abbreviated.

        1. That’s because “AktienGesellschaft” indicates the type of company you are dealind with, such as “Ltd” or “plc”. Not abbreviating it would be like BP calling themselves “BP public limited company”….

    4. You are right on the newspaper namer there – it’s Handelsblatt (or Trade news paper)

  2. Oh wow, no weasel words, straight commitment

  3. Curious to see how they’ll prepare for 2026. As Aston Martin is showing, it can take a couple of years to bring new facilities to the point where they’re fully operational and can contribute to the F1 process. One imagines that they’ll want to start being increasingly involved in Sauber sooner rather than later.

    1. Coventry Climax
      14th December 2023, 18:19

      They’ll stay outside of official F1 for reasons of budget cap and development restrictions for as long as they can.
      Can’t blame them.

    2. MichaelN,
      They’ll only be saved by the rules that aim to prevent a new manufacturer to get it wrong the way Honda did in 2015. Rumors suggest a meeting took place with Binotto for a potential role within the team, leaving an impression on him that the top management at Audi are perceived as clowns. It’s quite telling to be labeled a clown by someone regarded as the biggest clown in the paddock !

  4. I’ll be amazed if we see Audi in F1 at all.

    Why spend millions on a new ICE when Audi customers will not even be able to buy a new Audi with an ICE in most territories. It just doesn’t make any sense to me, for them to flounder around at the back of the grid until 2028 probably, with what possible marketing angle.

    With the emergence of more affordable EVs, government buying incentives and climate crisis pressures, 3 years is now a long time in the auto industry.

    I predict in 2 years time, they will be back tracking.

  5. I agree with Ian Haycox, it’s a long way to go until 2026, and a serious commitment in 2023 doesn’t seem to be so genuine, especially with their plans regarding EV’s.
    Saying that you’re going to do something at the end of 2025, two years before you’re allowed to design a car is just wishful thinking, especially as Board Members could easily change a lot of decisions between now and then, and who knows what the share prices will reflect with damning reporting on poor reliability in the press.
    We’ll have to wait and see whether they go down the same track as Porsche did !

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