In October last year, Audi and Sauber announced that the German automaker would supply engines to Formula 1 teams from 2026. The schedule is in line with new rules in the world’s fastest track competition which are expected to be introduced from 2026. The season brings a shift to materials. fully synthetic fuel for internal combustion engines. Today, Audi officially purchased a minority stake in the Sauber Group as the next logical step in the cooperation between the two parties.
There were no details regarding the financial side of the deal, but Sauber called this an “important milestone in Audi’s entry into Formula 1.” We know for sure, however, that Sauber’s Hinwil facility with an advanced wind tunnel will be used by Audi for its F1 program, but the brand’s power units for the competition will be developed at separate plants in Neuburg and der Donau sites in the Neuburg-Schrobenhausen district in Germany.
Audi is currently expanding its production site in Neuburg where the LMP1 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship was developed in the past. The factory reconstruction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024 when the cooperation between Audi and Sauber will enter a new phase. Until then, our colleagues at Motorsport.com reported, Sauber will continue with its current agreement with Alfa Romeo before switching to Audi power in 2026. The German automaker, in turn, plans to conduct its first tests with the new powertrain in 2025.
As for Formula 1’s new rules for 2026, the big change is that the engines will run on 100 percent sustainable fuel sourced from non-food crops, municipal waste or carbon capture. In addition, the new rules stipulate that the peak power of the electric motor will increase from the current 160 horsepower (120 kilowatts) to 470 hp (350 kW). Maximum output from the turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 engine will remain untouched at around 850 hp (635 kW).
More details on the cooperation between Audi and the Sauber Group are expected in the coming months. For the time being the F1 team will continue to use the Alfa Romeo branding, but it is believed that it will return to being called just Sauber for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.