Formula 1 (F1) will have a new manufacturer from its 2026 season: Audi, who will be a supplier of power units.

The fact was announced this Friday by the highest category of motorsport and by the Volkswagen Group brand, weeks after the new regulations for the championship’s power units were published.

According to F1, these are designed to make the sport more competitive and attractive to new teams.

Also, the 2026 power units will keep the current V6 internal combustion engine design. However, it will have more electric power and 100% sustainable fuels, two key factors for Audi to join the grid.

The German brand also assured that it supports the championship’s plans to be more sustainable and profitable. This will be achieved with a new cost cap for power unit suppliers in 2023 and targets to have a net zero carbon footprint by 2030.

“I am delighted to welcome Audi to F1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” said Stefano Domenicali, F1 President and CEO. He also worked at Volkswagen in 2014.

“It is also a great recognition that our move to sustainable fuel hybrid engines in 2026 is a solution for the automotive sector,” he added.

“We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grille and we will hear more details about their plans in due course.”

Audi in motorsport

Audi is not new to the world of motorsport, having created its sports department in 1978. For 1981 it entered the World Rally Championship (WRC) and made history by winning the first round with a woman: Michélle Mouton.

From 1982 to 1984 it won four WRC titles, while in 1990 and 1991 it won two Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) titles.

In 1999, Audi made its debut at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and took the podium. His strongest streak in this race was between 2010 and 2014, winning it five times in a row.

The German marque was also one of the first teams to join the Formula E grid in its debut season (2014-2015), taking the title in 2017 alongside Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi.

His time in motor sport has added 10 World Championships and 107 victories in 187 races.

This 2022, Audi also joined the Dakar Rally, a championship for which you also bet together with F1, after leaving other categories in which they tasted glory: the World Endurance Championship (WEC, in which the 24 Hours of Le Mans) in 2016 and Formula E in 2020.

“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” said Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG, according to a press release.

“F1 is 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, F1 and Audi are pursuing clear sustainability goals,” he added.

Sauber breaks its sponsorship with Alfa Romeo and is the favorite to ally with Audi

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN

Audi confirmed that it will develop its power unit at its Neuburg facility, the first time in more than a decade that F1’s powertrain will be built in Germany.

Also, by joining F1 as a power unit supplier, it will be able to team up with existing teams to compete.

Sauder, which currently competes with a Ferrari engine, would be his option since the company would buy 75% of the team, Motor Pasión reported this week.

On the other hand, this Friday it was announced that Alfa Romeo will end its main sponsorship with the team when its current contract expires at the end of the 2023 season.

The Italian company returned to the top category in 2018 through a technical and commercial partnership, while in 2021 it announced a multi-year extension with annual evaluations.

Alfa Romeo chose to continue the relationship in 2023 due to the “promising results of the first half of the season, both in terms of performance, marketing and positive collaboration with the team”.

Heading into this weekend’s Belgian GP, ​​the team sits sixth in the Constructors’ World Championship; while Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu occupy the ninth and 17th places, respectively, of the Drivers’ Championship.

However, with his departure at the end of next season, the company “will evaluate among many opportunities on the table and decide which will be the best to sustain the long-term strategy and brand positioning.”

Porsche would also join the F1 grid

Porsche, another Volkswagen Group brand, would be another interested in joining the F1 grid thanks to its new regulations for power units.

Herbert Diess, who was president of the Volkswagen Board of Directors until July, even stated in May that “the matter is relatively concrete in Porsche,” reported El País.

On the other hand, documents delivered to the competition authority in Morocco revealed that the German manufacturer’s strategy would be to buy 50% of Red Bull Racing, with whom it would form an alliance that would not be limited to providing it with power units.

However, during the weekend of the Hungarian GP – the last race before F1’s summer break – Christian Horner, the director of Red Bull, declared that the dialogue between both parties is going in the right direction, but still There are details that need to be clarified.

Audi ended up getting ahead of its sister brand and Porsche is still waiting to fine-tune details to finally join the World Championship.

If it does, its power unit would be entirely different from Audi’s and would be mostly developed in the UK, according to MotorSport.

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