Audi has finally confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets of the F1 paddock by announcing that it will enter Formula 1 as a powertrain manufacturer in 2026.
The Volkswagen-owned German car giant officially announced the long-awaited news a week after the FIA approved new engine rules for 2026.
The new regulations will dramatically increase the engine’s electrical output and include a cost cap for all engine manufacturers.
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Audi chairman Markus Duesmann said they were central to his company’s decision to enter the sport.
“I think it’s perfect timing given the new rules that are now set for our entry into F1,” he said.
“There are many aspects. We decided to be an all-electric car manufacturer and F1 changed the rules so that we can enter with a very high electric part of the powertrain with renewable fuels and Formula 1 installed a cost cap that makes it very attractive to us. enter now.
“We started electrifying our motorsport program in 2012 with our hybrid car at Le Mans, we continued the journey with Formula E and also with our Dakar project – we want to be the first car manufacturer to win the Dakar Rally with an electrified powertrain – so then the logical the next step is to enter formula 1.
“And we expect the most technically advanced electric motors that will be as powerful as the internal combustion engine.
“Our engineers will learn a lot about the next generation of electric motors, battery technology and software. We love this challenge of Formula 1.”
Audi is heavily linked with the buyout of Alfa Romeo, which is run by the historic Sauber team in Switzerland.
On Friday, Sauber announced that Alfa Romeo will end its main sponsorship of the team next year after more than six years in the sport.
But Duesmann said no decision has yet been made about the work or deliveries.
“We haven’t decided on that yet,” he said.
“We will make a decision about the team this year and depending on the team it will be a different way of engagement from our side.”
“So we haven’t decided what the team will look like yet, but we will let you know as soon as possible.
Formula 1 hailed Audi’s announcement as a major victory for new rules and the direction the sport has taken in recent years, with sustainability becoming increasingly important in the category, as well as regulations designed to improve competitiveness.
“I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. “This is a significant moment for our sport, highlighting the enormous power we have as a global platform that continues to grow.
“It is also a great recognition that our transition to sustainable hybrid engines in 2026 is the future solution for the automotive sector.
“We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and hearing more details from them about their plans soon.”
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The Audi engine announcement is likely to be followed by confirmation that Porsche will be Red Bull’s engine manufacturing partner in 2026. Although neither brand was included in the partnership, documents released by Morocco’s competition regulator revealed Porsche’s plans to buy 50 percent of Red. Bull’s F1 operates and enters a joint venture to build power units under the new rules.
The new F1 engine rules, printed by the FIA last week, apply to power units with a similar architecture to the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-hybrid engines that currently power the grid.
The key change is the removal of the complicated and expensive MGU-H in exchange for an increase in total electric power to 50 percent of the engine’s total output. The internal combustion engine will also be powered by carbon neutral sustainable fuels.
The FIA was also successful in implementing a cost cap for engine manufacturers, which will be set at $95 million per year for work carried out between 2023 and 2026 and $130 million thereafter.
New builders will receive $10 million in relief for the first two years and another $5 million in the third season.
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