Audi will enter Formula 1 in 2026 with own powertrain

Formula 1

Audi say they are already F1 powertrain test benches in place at its Neuburg development centre, and that it has started to make preparations “in terms of personnel, buildings, and technical infrastructure”. It has also formed a new company specifically dedicated to Formula 1 powertrain development, wholly owned by its motorsport arm, Audi Sport.

Adam Baker – a recent Audi recruit from the FIA – will lead that new company as CEO of Audi’s Formula 1 project.

Porsche, however, has yet to solidify its own plans for a Formula 1 entry, though it is widely reported to be acquiring a 50% stake in UK-based Red Bull Technologies, likely with a view to becoming the current top team’s engine supplier, following Honda’s exit from the sport last year. Details of exactly what shape this partnership could take remain to be seen, and the German sports car manufacturer has not publicly commented on the reports.

On Audi’s entry, the decision not to announce a partner team to run the new powertrain sparked surprise at a press conference held at the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday morning.

It has been widely reported that Audi has agreed an alliance with the Swiss Sauber team, currently running as Alfa Romeo, after high-level talks with McLaren were said to have stalled.

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On the question of which team Audi will partner, Duesmann refused to be drawn. “That we will inform you as soon as we know,” he said, before adding “the decision on the team we will do this year.”

What he did confirm is that Audi has chosen not to set up a whole new team from scratch, saying there is “a high likelihood of having an Audi powertrain in an existing car. We won’t set up a team.

The announcement was welcomed by F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” he said.

“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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