After much speculation and conversation behind closed doors, Audi has officially announced its entry into Formula 1. The announcement comes a few days after the sport confirmed its new engine regulations post-2025, on the eve of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The direction of the sport towards synthetic fuels to achieve carbon neutrality as opposed to complete electrification, along with new budget caps for engine manufacturers were key factors in attracting Audi’s participation in F1. It is also one of the most globally recognised forms of motorsport, even with a young audience, making it lucrative to Audi Sport’s marketing arm.
It is worth noting that Audi has only signed on as a power unit maker for the next generation of F1. The German marque will be making the hybrid powertrain at state-of-the-art facilities in Neuburg an der Donau which is said to be not far from Audi’s HQ in Ingolstadt. There is already a separate company for the power unit wholly under Audi Sport. There is no official word on how it will appear on the grid, stating that it will announce which team it will line up with for 2026 by the end of 2022.
The commitment to Formula 1 comes with a price and so Audi Sport is discontinuing its LMDh project. However, it will continue to develop the RS-Q e-tron to pursue overall victory in the Dakar Rally. Audi has already enjoyed success in Formula E, WRC, DTM, and Le Mans. Now, it’s time for them to have a crack at the top technological motorsport on four wheels.
In a cheeky dig at the current titans of F1 engine manufacturing, Mercedes, the Audi press release also mentioned that this would be the first time in over 10 years that a Formula 1 power unit will be built in Germany.
The announcement was followed by a stock F1 car from the 2022 generation draped in a typical electrified Audi RS livery. It actually looks better than some of the current liveries on the grid today, and it doesn’t even have any sponsors on it.
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