Audi F1 land yet another major new recruit ahead of F1 2026 entry

Thomas Maher
Audi's launch reveal at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix.

Audi has signed a new chief commercial officer.

Ahead of its rebrand to Audi in 2026, Sauber has confirmed the signing of another key member of personnel to further bolster the ranks.

Just days after announcing Stefano Sordo as performance director, Sauber has confirmed the signing of a new chief commercial officer who has taken up the position as of the start of June.

Sauber confirm new signing ahead of Audi rebrand

With Audi’s full takeover of Sauber Motorsport edging ever closer as the German manufacturer gears up to enter F1 in 2026, the scale-up of operations at Hinwil is well underway.

The latest high-profile signing is that of Stefano Battiston, who has begun work at Sauber as chief commercial officer. Taking over the role on June 1st, Battiston will report directly to CEO Andreas Seidl.

His remit will be to lead the team’s new commercial strategy as it evolves into Audi.

Battiston will thus oversee all commercial aspects of Sauber and on into the Audi years, including marketing, partnerships, brand and content, merchandising, and business development.

Previously, Battiston worked as head of marketing for Hinwil under their Alfa Romeo guise and is being appointed from his current position as commercial director at the Audi F1 project where he led the initial development of it as a commercial entity.

Previous roles saw him working for Maserati and IWC Schaffhausen.

“The appointment of Stefano is another important step in our transition to become the Audi F1 factory team from 2026,” Andreas Seidl, CEO of Sauber and the Audi F1 team said.

“It represents a solid foundation upon which we will continue to build as we prepare for our entry into Formula 1 with Audi, ensuring that we are commercially ahead of our competitors. I have worked with Stefano since I joined the Sauber Group: together, we have ambitious goals, and welcoming Stefano to this program brings us one step closer to realising them. There is a race on track and off track; we want to win them both.”

The confirmation comes just days after Sauber announced the signing of former Red Bull and McLaren engineer Stefano Sordo as performance director.

Sordo most recently served as technical director for RLL Racing in IndyCar and will report to chief technical officer James Key. Boasting years of F1 experience with Red Bull and McLaren, Sordo played a key role in Red Bull’s dominant years with Sebastian Vettel between 2010 and ’13.

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Audi confirms full takeover of Sauber

Two months ago, Audi revealed that the plans for its partnership with Sauber had evolved. The initial plan had been for Audi AG to build from a minority stake, purchased in 2023, up to 75 per cent ownership by the end of 2025.

However, the intent is now for Audi to fully take over the Sauber Group and Sauber Holding AG after an agreement was reached with current majority shareholder Islero Investments – Finn Rausing’s holding company.

Members of the supervisory boards of Audi and Volkswagen approved the change of plan, while Oliver Hoffmann will step down from Audi’s board of management.

The reason for this is that he will become the Audi F1 team’s general representative and will be responsible for implementing Audi’s entry into F1.

Hoffmann will assume responsibility for every aspect of the Audi entry – the stake in Sauber, the development of Audi’s power unit, as well as the leadership and direction of the F1 team.

Audi has already confirmed one of the drivers it will tackle the 2026 season with, as current Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg will switch to Sauber in ’25. The identity of the team’s second driver is not yet known, with current Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz a leading candidate.

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