Audi have agreement with Sauber, could reveal F1 plans at Spa – report

Sam Cooper
Audi logo in focus next to Porsche. Berlin February 2022.

Audi’s future in F1 may soon be confirmed after reports emerged that they could make their 2026 intentions known as early as the Belgian Grand Prix.

Volkswagen’s former CEO Herbert Diess confirmed in May that both Audi and Porsche would be joining Formula 1 in 2026 but as of yet details of either’s plans have been sparse.

Audi were reportedly in talks to buy McLaren but the Woking-based team refused to sell meaning they turned their attention elsewhere and to Sauber, currently racing as Alfa Romeo.

A report has now emerged that a deal has been agreed between the two with Sauber being the subject of an unsuccessful takeover bid from the Andretti group last year.

Motorsport.com is now reporting that a deal is in place between Audi and Sauber and that the prospective buyers were willing to pay more for a smaller percentage of the company than Andretti was.

There is also a link between Sauber and Audi CEO Markus Duesmann who was head of development at BMW-Sauber between 2007 and 2009.

The BMW partnership would be similar to the proposed Audi deal with Sauber being assured that they would continue to be developed as a factory team.

Motorsport reports that details for Audi’s future are imminent and could be revealed during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

One of the main issues with Andretti’s group was their refusal to continue using Sauber’s Hinwil base but Audi have agreed to those terms and will reportedly build the chassis there. The powertrain will then be constructed at Audi’s site in Neuburg, Germany.

Audi and Porsche’s entry into Formula 1 are different in that Audi want to enter as an independent team while Porsche are reportedly working on a deal to use Red Bull Powertrains.

While it has yet to be formally confirmed by either party, recent documents filed in Morocco indicate Porsche are set to take a 50% stake in the Red Bull Technology company.

Despite this representing the first change in Red Bull ownership since 2005, team boss Christian Horner insisted it would not alter their ethos.

“It’s all about who a potential partner could be,” he said during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“Of course, a company like Porsche is an enormous company – great heritage, phenomenal brand. So of course there are attractions to that.

“But any partnership would have to fit with the Red Bull philosophy, obviously – the DNA, the culture of who we are, how we go racing and what we’ve achieved. It would be absolutely fundamental to any discussion of not changing that. We are successful for a reason. And of course, in any discussion that would be conditional on any involvement.”