RACE DEBRIEF

    German manufacturer Audi will join the Formula 1 World Championship from the 2026 season as a power unit supplier.

    It comes after new power unit regulations, designed specifically to make it possible and attractive for newcomers to join the sport at a competitive level, were published earlier this month.

    The 2026 power units will maintain the current V6 internal combustion engine architecture but feature increased electrical power and 100% sustainable fuels, two factors Audi say were key to it joining.

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    Audi – who are part of the Volkswagen Group – added that it also supports F1’s plans to be more sustainable and cost efficient, with a cost cap for power unit manufacturers introduced in 2023 and F1 setting a target of being Net Zero Carbon by 2030.

    “I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” said F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali, who worked for Volkswagen for a stint starting in 2014. “This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.

    “It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector. We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and will be hearing further details from them on their plans in due course.”

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    Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG Markus Duesmann and Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann reveal Audi’s liveried showcar in the pit lane at Spa

    Audi announced its entry for 2026 at a press conference at Spa, ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, which featured Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG Markus Duesmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann, Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

    The manufacturer said they will announce a decision on which team they will be “lining up with in 2026 by the end of this year”.

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    Audi Sport’s facility in Neuburg will be where the power unit is developed, marking the first time in more than a decade that F1 powertrain will be built in Germany.

    “Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” said Duesmann. “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.”

    Domenicali on Audi's announcement: 'It's a great day for F1'

    Hoffmann added: “In view of the major technological leaps that the series is making towards sustainability in 2026, we can speak of a new Formula 1. 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.”

    Audi say there are already test benches for F1 engine testing as well as for electric motor and battery testing in their Neuburg base. They are currently working on getting personnel, buildings and technical infrastructure in place by the end of the year. They will then have three years to finetune the PU before entering F1.

    Adam Baker, who has held several senior positions for manufacturers and teams in motorsport while also spending three years at the FIA, will run the Formula 1 project as CEO.

    REACTION: Audi to join Formula 1 in 2026