In October last year, Audi and Sauber made an announcement that the German automaker will be supplying engines for the Formula 1 team starting in 2026. The schedule aligns with the new rules in the world’s fastest track competition that are expected to be introduced from the 2026 season bringing a switch to entirely synthetic fuel for combustion engines. Today, Audi officially buys a minority stake in the Sauber Group as a logical next step in the cooperation between the two parties.
There are no details regarding the financial side of the deal but Sauber calls this “an important milestone on the way to Audi’s entry in Formula 1.” We know for sure, however, that Sauber’s Hinwil facility with a state-of-the-art wind tunnel will be used by Audi for its F1 program, but the brand’s power unit for the competition will be developed at a separate factory at Neuburg an der Donau site in the Neuburg-Schrobenhausen district in Germany.
Gallery: Audi F1 livery for 2026
Audi is currently expanding its production site in Neuburg where its LMP1 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship was developed in the past. The reconstruction of the factory is expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2024 when the cooperation between Audi and Sauber will move to a new phase. Until then, our colleagues at Motorsport.com report, Sauber will continue its current agreement with Alfa Romeo before switching to Audi power in 2026. The German automaker, in turn, is planning to make its first tests with the new powertrain in 2025.
As for Formula 1’s new rules for 2026, the big change is that the engine will run on 100 percent sustainable fuels sourced from non-food plants, municipal waste, or carbon capture. Also, the new rules stipulate that the peak power from the electric motor will increase from the current 160 horsepower (120 kilowatts) to 470 hp (350 kW). The maximum output of the turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 engine will remain untouched at around 850 hp (635 kW).
More details about the cooperation between Audi and Sauber Group are expected in the coming months. For the time being, the F1 team will continue with Alfa Romeo branding, but it is believed it will go back to being called just Sauber for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.