The countdown is on with the official announcement that Audi will enter the FIA Formula 1 world championship from 2026, writing a new chapter in the brand’s proud motorsport history.

26 August, 2022

The world’s premiere motorsport class, Formula 1, will welcome a newcomer from 2026 with the announcement today that Audi will enter the category. Announced at a press conference in Belgium ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Markus Duesmann ended months of speculation, confirming that Audi would develop an all-new powerplant especially for the brand’s assault on the world’s leading motorsport competition.

“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” says Markus Duesmann. “Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry,” Duesmann said at the press conference.

The decision coincides with coming technical changes to the formula that will see an increased focus on greater electrification and advanced sustainable fuel, perfectly matching Audi’s own focus and the brand’s expertise.

“With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula 1 and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals,” Mr Duesmann said.

(L to R) Stefano Domenicali - Formula 1 President and CEO, Mohammed ben Sulayem - FIA President, Markus Duesmann – Audi CEO and Oliver Hoffmann - Audi Board Member for Technical Development.

Audi will announce which team it will partner with in 2026 by the end of this year, but in the meantime has confirmed that the new powerplant will be built at Audi Sport’s state-of-the-art Competence Centre Motorsport in Neuburg, just north of Audi HQ in Ingolstadt.

The impressive Neuburg facility already has test benches for F1 engine testing as well as for electric motor and battery testing. Additional preparations are currently being made in terms of personnel, buildings, and technical infrastructure, with everything essential to be in place by the end of the year. 

From 2026, the electric power output for the power units, consisting of an electric motor, battery, control electronics, and a combustion engine, will increase sharply compared to today’s Formula 1 drive systems. The electric motor will then be nearly as powerful as the combustion engine, which has an output of about 400kW and working with a highly efficient 1.6-litre turbo engine run on advanced sustainable fuel – also a prerequisite for Audi’s entry into the series.

A separate company was recently founded for the power unit project as a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi Sport with Adam Baker named as CEO of the company and the brand’s Formula 1 project. The engineer has held various senior positions for manufacturers and teams in motorsport and most recently spent three years working for the FIA before joining Audi in 2021.

The technology to feature in the Formula 1 assault will obviously draw heavily on Audi’s extensive powerplant development work that has already produced outstanding results in the brand’s time in Formula E and most recently the ongoing Dakar campaign and the RS Q e-tron. This direction will continue in the future with Audi focused on doing even better in next year’s Dakar rally than the debut assault this year which netted four stage wins.

But such is the magnitude of the brand’s Formula 1 announcement that a restructuring of some other motorsport endeavours means that Audi Sport will discontinue its the development of the LMDh sports car for endurance racing.

For a brand that has achieved such outstanding success in every field of motorsport in its history, the move to Formula 1 is an obvious and greatly anticipated one. Not since the 1930s has Audi competed in Grand Prix racing and back then it was the Auto Union cars that battled for supremacy in the premium ranks.

Certainly much has changed since then, but the brand’s competitive spirit and reputation for innovation and engineering excellence have only grown, setting the stage for an exciting new motorsport chapter for the Audi brand.