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Audi’s F1 plans take shape as announcement looms

But amid growing indications that confirmation of these intentions for 2026 is currently imminent, Audi could be the first to reveal its plans and may do so as soon as this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

After months of discussions to straighten out somebody team, it really is understood an agreement is currently set up between Audi and the Sauber team, which currently competes beneath the Alfa Romeo moniker.

Audi had originally negotiated with McLaren in regards to a takeover of team shares, having been initially devote touch with the team and its own owners through former McLaren F1 racer Gerhard Berger.

“I established the connection with McLaren,” said the DTM boss. “McLaren is a candidate as somebody for Audi in Formula 1.”

However the talks between McLaren’s owners, the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, and Audi ultimately found nothing. Ultimately, Sauber emerged because the preferred candidate following an assessment of Aston Martin and Williams.

Discussions have finally advanced with Sauber, following its owner Finn Rausing previously rejected an offer from Michael Andretti to market the team for 350 million euro by the end of 2021.

It had been suggested that Rausing insisted on the continued existence of the Sauber Group at the Hinwil site and the preservation of jobs, and in addition demanded an additional 250 million euro as a contribution to the team to become sure the team was in safe hands.

Ultimately, Andretti walked away due to terms it might not accept.

Factory plans

With Audi, Sauber gets a solid partner who, in accordance with sources, is ready to pay a lot more than Andretti for an inferior percentage of the business. Rausing is defined to remain up to speed as a minority owner.

Addititionally there is the promise to help expand develop Sauber as a factory team, nearly the same as the way the Sauber-BMW partnership worked between 2006 and 2009.

It’s interesting to notice that current Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, who has pushed the brand’s F1 entry, was head of development at the BMW-Sauber team between 2007 and 2009 but still knows the Hinwil operation from in the past.

The Sauber factory

The Sauber factory

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Motorsport.com realizes that the program includes continuing to create the chassis in Hinwil, where among F1’s modern wind tunnels continues to be located.

The powertrain is usually to be created at Audi’s site in Neuburg and therefore developed and produced on German soil.

That is unlike VW Group sister company Porsche, that may develop large elements of its engine at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes powertrains division.

Like Porsche, Audi would be to set up a fresh company because of its F1 project. You can find suggestions that Adam Baker, whom Audi hired by the end of 2021 for “special tasks,” is defined for a managing director role.

Baker previously worked at BMW, where he first met Duesmann, and at the FIA.

Another obvious candidate for the post could have been the existing head of sport Julius Seebach, who as CEO of Audi Sport is more capable in higher management than Baker.

However, it really is understood that Seebach is approximately to be replaced and contains been associated with a newly created position in Audi’s development department.

Red Bull Porsche delay

While Audi’s plans are making good progress, a public announcement about Red Bull and Porsche’s tie-up have not happened as quickly as some had anticipated.

For weeks, it had been explained that delays in finalising the 2026 engine rules were cited because the reason that neither car company wished to commit until these were sure concerning the regulations.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko told Motorsport.com at the Hungarian GP: “VW’s board decision is that when the technical regulations meet the requirements, they have the mandate to get into Formula 1.

Porsche GT Team logo

Porsche GT Team logo

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

“Purely formally, however, these new regulations usually do not yet exist. The FIA president is supposedly likely to put it to the vote within an email ballot soon. Only then does it officially start.”

The engine rules were subsequently signed off on 16 August, but there’s still no indication of when the official communication from Red Bull and Porsche will undoubtedly be made.

However, a recently available document published by anti-cartel authorities in Morocco associated with the Porsche/Red Bull tie-up has indicated that it’ll wait until 30 August for just about any feedback from interested parties before giving its green light to the program.

It’s possible that only then will Porsche feel everything is set up for this to go public using its ambitions.

Additional reporting bySven Haidinger

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