German car manufacturing giant Audi has announced that they will be teaming up with Sauber F1, currently known as Alfa Romeo, from 2026 onwards. The German auto manufacturers would provide the engines for the Sauber Formula 1 team. The Engines will be manufactured in Germany. The Car will be designed and made at Sauber’s F1 base in Switzerland.
Sauber is currently in a partnership with Alfa Romeo, while Ferrari supplies the engines for the team. The collaboration with Alfa Romeo will end in 2023. In 2019 Sauber and Alfa Romeo announced a partnership in which the Swiss team ran under the banner of the Italian car manufacturers. While the partnership looked lucrative on paper, it didn’t bring any significant financial resources. Alfa Romeo hasn’t finished higher than 8th in their last three F1 seasons.
This season the team started very strongly, especially after the arrival of former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. The Finnish driver scored 46 of the team’s 52 points this season, and Alfa Romeo currently sits sixth on the table. However, the team has scored only one point in the last ten races. Alfa Romeo is just one point ahead of the resurging Aston Martin team. Finishing the season closer to the middle of the table brings substantial financial rewards. Especially for a team struggling with fewer financial resources.
Audi and Sauber’s statement on their new joint venture
Sauber will continue to run with its current engine supplier Ferrari for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Audi will take over from 2026 onwards. Audi is also planning to acquire a stake in the Sauber Group. Regarding this new partnership, Sauber’s team principal Fredrick Vasseur has said:” The collaboration between Audi AG and Sauber Motorsport is a crucial step for our team as we progress towards the front of the grid. To become Audi’s official works team is not only an honor and a great responsibility. It’s the best option for the future. we are confident we can help Audi achieve the objectives they have set for their journey in Formula 1.”
“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,” said Audi board member Oliver Hoffman who oversees Audi’s Formula 1 program. “We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility. They have an experienced team from previous collaborations. We are convinced that together we will form a strong team.”
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s statement after Audi/Sauber partnership announcement
President and CEO of Formula1, Stefano Domenicali, said: “It is excellent news to hear that Audi will partner with Sauber for their entry into Formula 1 in 2026. The combination of those two names is a fascinating prospect for our sport. It highlights the strong momentum that Formula 1 has and the belief in our strategy to grow further and enhance the sport while delivering on our sustainability plans to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030. We look forward to seeing their progress over the coming years and the car on the grid for the team’s first race.”
Audi confirmed their entry into Formula 1 around the announcement of the new engine regulations for 2026. The summary for the engine rules is that the next generation of cars will be powerful when they hit the track in 2026. However, they will use significantly less energy and produce zero exhaust CO2 emissions. Cars will not have engines with MGU-H FROM 2026. There will be less Dyno time for the teams to test their new components. The FIA took this step to reduce the overall running cost. There is a mandate to introduce recycling options for batteries. There is also a mandate to recycle materials like Cobalt at the end of the MGU-K’S life.