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Audi to enter F1 in 2026

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Why Audi have decided to get involved in F1 (2:00)

Nate Saunders explains why Audi and other manufacturers are looking to provide F1 power units from 2026. (2:00)

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Car manufacturer Audi has confirmed it will enter Formula One in 2026 as a power unit constructor.

The news was announced following the sign-off of F1's new engine regulations for 2026, which will provide Audi with an opportunity to enter the sport on more equal terms with existing power unit manufacturers.

The project will be based at Audi Sport's facility in Neuburg, Germany, near the company's headquarters in Ingolstadt, where Audi has already set up test benches for F1 engines.

"Motorsport is an integral part of Audi's DNA," Markus Duesmann, the chairman of Audi's board of management, said. "Formula One 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. With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula One and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals."

In a press conference at Spa Francorchamps ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, Duesmann added that Audi "hadn't decided" on a chassis partner when asked who would use the power units in 2026.

Amid reports it is close to confirming a deal to buy into the existing Sauber F1 team, which currently races under the name of title sponsor Alfa Romeo, Duesmann said Audi had considered a number of chassis partner options and would make an announcement before the end of the year.

"There are fantastic chassis partners on the grid and we did talk to several. We will inform you when we decide," he said.

Later on Friday, Alfa Romeo confirmed it would end its partnership with Sauber before the end of 2023.

Asked if Audi would expect to be competitive straight away in F1, Duesmann added: "I feel that's not realistic. That would be ideal, but we certainly have a plan internally what we want to do.

"Ideally within the first three years we should be very competitive."

Audi's announcement is likely to be followed by sister company Porsche, which is also a part of the Volkswagen Group. According to documents published in Morocco to comply with the country's antitrust laws, Porsche is also planning to enter F1 in 2026 by purchasing 50 percent of the Red Bull F1 team, but an official announcement has not yet been made. However, Audi has confirmed that any future Porsche project would be separate to its own power unit development.

F1's engine regulations for 2026 will see a switch to fully sustainable fuels and an increase in electrical power from the hybrid unit. The new rules will also cut the complicated MGU-H unit used in current F1 power units, which recovers energy from the turbocharger and combats turbo lag.

"I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula One, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator," F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said. "This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.

"It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably fueled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector. We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and will be hearing further details from them on their plans in due course."

Audi will join existing power unit suppliers Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Red Bull Powertrains.