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Audi Partners With Sauber To Race in Formula 1 Starting in 2026

Audi's hunt for a partner to race in F1 finally landed on Sauber, a team with a long history and short drive from the German company's headquarters.

Audi will race in Formula 1 with the Switzerland-based Sauber team beginning in 2026, the two companies announced Wednesday. The partnership will net Sauber an engine supplier who is already heavily invested in winning from Day 1 in the sport and will bring Audi an established team with a long history in F1. The terms of the agreement weren’t announced by either manufacturer.

Audi reportedly shopped several other partners for its F1 debut, including McLaren and Williams. Both share a common thread with Sauber: All three have been expert chassis outfits with long histories in F1 while using other manufacturers’ powertrains. While McLaren and Williams use Mercedes powertrains underneath their carbon fiber skins, Sauber—which races as Alfa Romeo—has used Ferrari powerplants with limited success for the past few seasons.

It’s unclear if Alfa Romeo will continue in F1 beyond 2025, and a spokesperson for the company didn’t immediately comment on the story.

According to Audi, the power units, which consist of a 1.6-liter turbocharged internal combustion engine, batteries, electric motors, generators, and harvesters, will be assembled at Audi’s motorsport headquarters in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany. Audi says roughly 120 employees are already working on the power units, and the company will begin testing in 2025. Sauber will manage the races, operations, and chassis designs from its Hinwil, Switzerland, base.

“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project,” Oliver Hoffmann, board member for technical development at Audi AG. “We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team.” For example, Audi Sport has already regularly used the Sauber Group’s high-tech wind tunnel in Hinwil, just under four hours away by car, during the successful Le Mans era and during the development of the Class 1 touring car for the DTM.”

Audi’s long history in motorsports includes World Endurance Championship, German touring car (DTM), rally, Formula E, and GT cars. Audi’s predecessor, Auto Union, raced in grands prix with Mercedes-Benz in the 1930s with their “Silver Arrow” cars, a name that has since applied only to Mercedes’ F1 cars.

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