At a press conference in Belgium today, Audi confirmed the rumours as they revealed that they will be on the F1 grid from 2026.
The press conference, held at Spa, was attended by Audi and F1 bosses including Markus Duesmann, the Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, and Oliver Hoffmann, a Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, as well as Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali, and Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of the FIA.
“I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” Domenicali 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.”
The new F1 engine rules that will come into play from 2026 – continuing with a 1.6 litre, V6 turbo as currently used but the electric motor is set to be almost as powerful as the combustion engine and the whole thing will run on fully sustainable fuel – were a key factor in Audi’s decision to join.
“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” Duesmann said. “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.”
The new Audi powertrain will be built at the company’s facility in Neuburg an der Donau, not far from the Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt, as there are already test benches available there which are suitable for F1 engines as well as electric motor and battery testing.
Near the end of 2020, when Audi announced their intention to leave Formula E, the goals then were to focus on the Dakar Rally and the new LMDh sportscar prototype but with the focus now on Formula 1, their LMDh program has been discontinued.
While today’s announcement was about Audi as an engine manufacturer, they did say that the identity of the team they will be partnering with will be revealed by the end of the year.