Audi Formula 1 challenge. The four circles join the highest class of racing. With a specifically created power unit, the luxury brand will start competing in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2026. The undertaking will be headquartered at the Audi Sport site in Neuburg, close to Ingolstadt.
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The reason is said to be the pursuit of sustainability
Audi’s press presentation for the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps revealed their participation in F1.
Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, and Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, participated in the event and fielded questions alongside Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1.
An F1 power train will be made in Germany for the first time in more than ten years.
“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA. Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula 1 and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals.” said Markus Duesmann.
Participating in the most renowned racing series in the world requires a clear strategy for improving sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Greater electrification and improved sustainable fuel are the main topics of the new technical regulations, which take effect in 2026.
In addition to the current cost restriction for teams, a cost cap for producers of power units will be implemented in 2023. Furthermore, Formula 1 has set a lofty objective for itself to become a carbon-neutral racing series by 2030.
The Audi Formula 1 team to help transform the competition
“In view of the major technological leaps that the series is making towards sustainability in 2026, we can speak of a new F1. Formula 1 is transforming, and Audi wants to actively support this journey. A close link between our Formula 1 project and AUDI AG’s Technical Development department will enable synergies.” said Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development.
In comparison to the drive systems used in F1 today, the power output of the power units—which are made up of an electric motor, battery, control electronics, and combustion engine—will significantly rise starting in 2026.
The combustion engine will then have an output of roughly 400 kW, making the electric motor almost as powerful as it (544 hp). The extremely effective 1.6-liter turbo engines are powered by cutting-edge sustainable fuel, which is also a requirement for Audi’s participation in the series.
F1 popularity is also a factor in the decision
Formula 1 has exactly suited Audi’s needs since it is well-known worldwide, highly emotive, and technologically sophisticated. The series offers competitions in all significant brand marketplaces.
It is especially appealing to automakers as a magnificent platform for the most demanding electric racing vehicles in the world. Audi is attempting to demonstrate its “Vorsprung durch Technik” in this cutthroat setting.
Globally, there is a lot of interest in Formula 1, making the racing series one of the international athletic events with the most appeal. More than 1.5 billion people watched the races on TV in 2021. The popularity of F1 is growing, especially among younger target audiences, in important areas like China and the USA.
Formula 1 is now growing fastest among the most watched sports on social media.
State-of-the-art facility to develop the engine and motors
The cutting-edge Competence Center Motorsport of Audi Sport is located in Neuburg a der Donau, close to the Ingolstadt headquarters of AUDI AG, where the power unit will be constructed.
“For the development and manufacture of the F1 power train, we will build on the valuable expertise of our motorsport employees, continue to invest in our motorsports center, and also recruit highly specialized professionals,” said Audi Sport Managing Director Julius Seebach, who organized the entry into Formula 1 as part of Audi’s realignment of motorsport.
Test stands for F1 engines, electric motors, and batteries are already available at Neuburg. With everything required to be in place by the end of the year, further necessary preparations are presently being made in terms of staff, facilities, and technological infrastructure. Recently, a separate business was established as a totally owned subsidiary of Audi Sport for the power unit project.
As CEO, Adam Baker will take over the company’s administration and subsequently the F1 project. The skilled engineer has worked in a number of executive capacities for manufacturers and racing teams. He spent three years working for the FIA before joining Audi in 2021.
By the conclusion of this year, Audi will reveal which team they will be competing with in 2026.
Audi’s motorsport efforts shifted with the F1 decision
Audi Sport is ending its LMDh project in order to combine its resources for the F1 effort. The creation of the sports vehicle for endurance racing has lately been put on hold by the motorsports section. Audi Sport’s innovation effort will continue with the RS-Q e-tron in the Dakar Rally in addition to customer racing. Audi wants to win the desert race overall the next year.
No matter the competition, Audi Sport has won countless championships in the World Rally Championship, World Sportscar Championship, US motorsport, DTM, Le Mans, or Formula E.
“Formula 1 is the next major milestone in Audi’s motorsport history,” said Julius Seebach.