Porsche and Audi entering F1 have been the sport's worst-kept secrets, as they were just waiting for the 2026 FIA power unit rules to be finalized before making their official announcements.
Since the FIA did their part last week, Audi wasted no time confirming their impending arrival in Formula One.
Ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, Audi has formally announced their entry to the sport as a Formula One power unit manufacturer from 2026. This is the German brand's first major step in the pinnacle of motorsport, where it will be joined by sister brand Porsche who's partnering with Red Bull.
Adam Baker, who has previously served as an FIA Safety Director, will be Audi Sport's CEO for the Formula One project. Audi Sport's facility in Neuburg, Germany will serve as the headquarters for developing the hybrid power unit.
The 2026 power unit rules suggest that the 1.6-liter V6 turbo engines will be retained but will be made less complex with the removal of the MGU-H unit that harvests energy through the turbocharger. In addition, the new power unit rules have increased electrical power through the MGU-K unit that recovers energy from the brakes. Lastly, from 2026 onwards, F1 power units will run on 100% sustainable fuels.
However, Audi has not revealed in the special Friday press conference who they would be working with. Reports strongly suggest the German manufacturer is linking up with Sauber. The deal would see Audi take a majority stake in the Hinwil-based squad, making it their semi-works team.
As for Sauber who's currently racing under the Alfa Romeo Racing name, the reported partnership could very well mean 2026 will be the first time they enjoy factory-level backing since the team went under the BMW Sauber name from 2006 to 2009.