Ex-team boss appears on Audi F1 radar to rescue ‘struggling’ programme

Michelle Foster
Audi logo and the shadow created by it.

The Audi logo.

Former Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto is once again been linked to Audi, the 2026 F1 entry said to be “struggling” to acquire the best engineering minds.

Binotto handed in his resignation at Ferrari at the end of last season as he fell on his sword following the team’s steep decline from championship contenders to distant runner-up to Red Bull.

Almost immediately he was linked to rival teams while former drivers such as Karun Chandhok and Christijan Albers questioning Ferrari’s decision to allow him to leave.

It’s Mattia Binotto to Audi Part 2

One of the teams he was linked to was Audi, along with Alpine and McLaren.

However, according to British publication F1 Business Magazine, Binotto turned down the chance to join the Audi project after visiting the company’s Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg and calling it a “clown” operation.

This was refuted by Audi, who told PlanetF1.com: “We can confirm that Mattia Binotto never visited the sports Competence Centre in Neuburg where our project is located.”

But with the Italian’s gardening leave now well and truly over, Binotto is once again said to be a target of Audi’s as they build up toward their 2026 Formula 1 entry.

“Regarding the current level of engine engineers, Audi seems to be struggling more than their rivals,” reported formu1a.uno.

“Some sources continue to report they are finding it difficult to acquire the best engineering minds.

“Mattia Binotto is undoubtedly one of Audi’s targets to fill this role. However, the former Ferrari team principal would also have several other options.

“Despite some uncertainties and the arrival of a new CEO, Gernot Doellner, the German company has no intention of giving up its entry. They intend to complete the acquisition of the Swiss company founded by Peter Sauber.”

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Audi confirm ‘aggressive recruitment programme’

Having already brought in 50 tech experts, some recruited from existing Formula 1 teams, Audi said earlier this year they were engaging in an “aggressive recruitment programme”.

Speaking to PlanetF1.com, CEO of Audi Formula Racing GmbH Adam Baker said: “Regarding recruitment, what we need to recognise is the Formula 1 project for Audi Sport here in Neuburg, it’s an important transformation project.

“This means we benefited from taking around 200 highly qualified staff over from within Audi Sport into Formula 1. So this is obviously a huge boost for our ramp-up phase.

“Here in the region, we also have access to literally 1,000s of tech experts who are involved in the automotive industry here working for Audi or for suppliers.

“But to ensure we will be competitive in 2026, we want to accelerate our learning phase as much as possible and part of that strategy is an aggressive recruitment programme. So far, we’ve contracted around 50 technical experts to join us here, including from some of our competitors.”

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