It had been circulating the hearsay mill for some time, however now it’s confirmed: Audi enters F1 in 4 years’ time.
The German marque has confirmed that from 2026, they’ll be participating within the pinnacle of motorsport – the FIA Components 1 World Championship.
To date, the precise particulars of Audi’s entry into the championship haven’t been totally revealed. What we do know for sure, nevertheless, is that they are going to be arriving with their very own bespoke energy unit, somewhat than working as a buyer staff.
The engine – which Audi are eager to level out is the primary German-built F1 engine in over a decade (a dig at Mercedes, maybe?) – will probably be designed in accordance with the brand new engine rules that come into pressure from 2026. The V6 structure will stay in play, nevertheless there will probably be a higher emphasis on its electrical part, often known as the MGU-Okay.
In essence, we’ll be a 1.6-litre block that may kick out greater than 1000 horsepower, and F1 have even teased that the reworked engines could carry again extra noise to the automobiles, which some followers felt had develop into a bit muted through the years.
As for the place that engine will probably be positioned, properly that’s the place issues develop into rather less clear. Audi say that they’ll “announce a choice on which staff they are going to be lining up with in 2026 by the top of this 12 months”, which seems to shut the door on a wholly new two-car operation.
As an alternative, whether or not the 4 Rings’ involvement resembles that of a mere engine provider, or whether or not they resolve to take over an current staff (Alfa Romeo Sauber has been mooted as an possibility), we’ll simply have to attend and see.
Within the meantime, Audi have teased us all with a putting present automotive that will probably be on show this weekend on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Talking forward of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Audi’s Chairman of the Board of Administration, Markus Duesmann, stated, “Motorsport is an integral a part of Audi’s DNA.
“Components 1 is each a world stage for our model and a extremely difficult improvement laboratory. The mix of excessive efficiency and competitors is at all times a driver of innovation and expertise switch in our business. With the brand new guidelines, now’s the precise time for us to get entangled. In any case, Components 1 and Audi each pursue clear sustainability objectives.”
As he alludes to there, sustainability is an enormous a part of the explanation why Audi is getting into F1. F1 itself has outlined a plan to trigger far much less injury to the planet than it presently does, by inserting higher demand on electrification, and investing in ‘sustainable fuels’ as properly. In actual fact, the championship’s organisers are ambitiously aiming for the F1 circus to be solely carbon impartial by 2030.
From a advertising and marketing perspective, that is gold. Not solely will Audi be capable of benefit from the game’s rising world viewers, they’ll additionally be capable of align themselves with greener values: one thing which the brand new worldwide inflow of youthful viewers holds expensive.
The transfer makes loads of sense then for Audi Sport, nevertheless the dedication of taking over an F1 program has had an affect upon the remainder of their racing antics.
As issues stand, Audi’s Dakar Rally program will stay, nevertheless improvement of a Le Mans LMDh hypercar has been canned. Their involvement in GT3 buyer racing can also be rumoured to be cutting down considerably, following Workforce WRT’s announcement that they’ll be switching from Audi to a brand new allegiance with BMW.
As for what it means for F1? Properly, with Audi’s degree of price range and experience, the championship might have a brand new participant on the entrance of the grid…