Contrary to rumours Audi could back out of the Sauber takeover, team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi says the German carmaker has a “strong commitment” to F1 and Sauber.
Last year Audi announced they had agreed on a deal with Sauber to become the Formula 1 team’s “strategic partner”, taking over the team in a works capacity in 2026.
Five months later that led to Audi purchasing a “minority stake in the Sauber Group”, which Sauber billed as an “important milestone on the way to Audi’s entry in Formula One”.
‘Audi have a strong commitment to Formula 1’
However, of late rumours have been doing the rounds suggesting Audi could back out of the deal.
According to a report in the French media, the company may pull the plug on their planned takeover, with the issue set to be put to a vote with the company board at an upcoming meeting.
However, seeking to “clarify a bit all these rumours that went around”, Bravi told the media in Brazil: “Audi have a strong commitment to Formula 1, of course together with Sauber.
“This commitment comes from a decision not only of the board of Audi but also the advisory board of Audi and the Supervisory Board of Audi Volkswagen. It’s a group decision and the commitment is there.”
He also touched on the lack of communication about the forthcoming Audi/Sauber partnership, explaining that was down to the team’s current relationship with Alfa Romeo.
“Why there is a lack of communication is simple. We are the Alfa Romeo F1 team,” he said.
“So until the end of the year, we have certain limitations in communicating about the team, about the future, about the involvement of Audi and we fully respect Alfa Romeo for this.
“We don’t want to make any kind of announcement or more than what is strictly related to the race and the championship.
“The commitment, as I said, is there. We are working hard to develop the structure of the team.”
Audi had also previously denied the speculation, telling PlanetF1.com: “The schedule of Audi Formula Racing GmbH for the build-up of the organisation and the development of the 2026 F1 Power Unit at the site in Neuburg/Germany remains unchanged.”
Sauber welcome former McLaren technical director James Key
Last month the Formula 1 team took another step forward as they welcomed a new technical director in former McLaren man James Key.
With Key’s arrival billed as a “statement of intent” by Sauber, Bravi says the Briton is already working on next year’s C44 which will be a completely new car.
“First of all, we are really happy about having James on board. He started the first week of September, so he’s also contributing to next year’s car, to our C44 car,” he said.
“We review completely the project, together with him, thanks to his experience we went through an in-depth analysis of all the areas of the car, taking decisions.
“So, the next year car will not be an evolution of this year’s car, because we think that there are some limits in this concept that we cannot exploit further. So, we will really have as completely new car from chassis to suspension, everything, all the areas.
“Of course, it’s easy to identify the problems, but then you need to be able to fix it.
“So, we are working hard, the group is growing. We have new appointments that are joining, and that will be able to contribute also to next year’s car but the answer will be given to all of us next year in Bahrain.”
Alfa Romeo are down in ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship with 16 points on the board.