The luxury brand, Audi, has confirmed its entry as an engine manufacturer for Formula One (F1) from 2026. Porsche is also expected to join in 2026 as an engine partner to Red Bull.
The announcement comes a month after the new power unit regulations were introduced to make it possible for newcomers to join F1 at a competitive level.
According to F1 the power units will keep the current V6 internal combustion engine architecture but will feature increased electrical power and fully sustainable fuels. F1 is looking to become carbon-neutral by 2030.
Markus Duesmann, CEO of Audi said that the new technical regulations played a key role in Audi’s choice.
Duesmann said: “I think it’s perfect timing with the new rules coming in. We have decided to be a full electric car manufacturer and F1 is using a big electric component now.
“Plus the cost cap makes it very attractive for us to enter now.”
Audi will build their power unit in Neuberg, Germany, close to its headquarters in Ingolstadt, which will be run by a new company owned by Audi Sport overseen by Adam Baker, who spent three years working at the FIA before joining Audi in 2021.
Audi announced its entry at Spa ahead of the weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. While The German manufacturer has been heavily linked to Sauber who currently race under Alfa Romeo, Audi said it will announce which team they will be working with by the end of the year. It is understood that Audi have explored a number of options for potentional team ups including Mclaren, and Aston Martin.
Stefano Domenicali, F1 CEO said: “I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula One. It is an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator.
“This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.”
Duesmann said: “Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA. Formula One is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory.
“If you think about the Le Mans, DTM, and Formula E, we have always been very active and very successful, and we want to continue this success in F1.
“With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula One and Audi both persue clear sustainability goals.”
Earlier this year, drivers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have also commented on the luxury brands’ arrival. Hamilton said: “I think it’s great that we’re going to get new manufacturers within the sport.
“Especially as you see there are several teams who have potential to be top teams but are customer teams, so I think it’s going to be great moving forward.”
Verstappen said: “I think it’s very exciting and very important and very exciting and very important for Formula One as well.
“Of course we have great teams, but to have really great brands behing it is really nice.
“I’m looking forward to what the future will bring.”