It is now officially official that Audi will enter the most intriguing motorsport series from 2026. Announced during a press conference at the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, the brand’s F1 entry is driven mostly by the championship’s upcoming switch to sustainability with new technical rules that will apply from 2026. Formula 1’s ultimate goal is to become carbon-neutral by the end of the decade, which aligns with Audi’s strategy.
“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management at Audi, commented during the press conference. “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.”
Audi also explains it sees huge marketing potential in Formula 1 as the events on its calendar are among the most popular with the highest reach in the world. In 2021 alone, more than 1.5 billion TV viewers watched races from the series and its popularity continues to grow in markets such as China and the US, key regions for Audi. F1’s social media presence is also growing at a very high rate.
The official announcement lacks information about Audi’s partner in Formula 1, though our colleagues from Motorsport.com report the German manufacturer is set to link up with Sauber. A deal between the two parties would give Sauber factory-level backing for the first time since BMW left F1 at the end of 2009. Audi says an official announcement on which team it will work with will be released before the year’s end.
The automaker’s press release also includes information about Audi’s power unit for Formula 1. It will be built at Audi Sport’s Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg. The facility already has test benches for F1 engine testing with additional preparations currently being made to meet the requirements for F1 powertrain development.