Audi F1 chief denies latest exit speculation and commits to 2026 entry

Sam Cooper
Audi CFO Jürgen Rittersberger and the company's logo.

Audi's CFO has denied they are withdrawing from F1.

Audi’s CFO has denied recent reports that the team is looking to abandon its plan to enter F1 and said they remain “steadfast” to their 2026 entry.

Reports have increased in recent weeks of a decision within the Audi group to change their F1 plans following the appointment of Gernot Döllner as CEO.

But board member for finance Jürgen Rittersberger has denied any such plans exist, suggesting they remain “steadfast” in their desire 2026 target.

Audi dismiss reports of imminent F1 departure

German outlet Der Spiegel reported that there was a meeting of the “top managers of Audi” on Monday to discuss the future of the F1 project and they said consensus is leading towards an expensive exit before they had even reached the track.

But a source has told PlanetF1.com this is not the case, revealing Rittersberger told investors that the F1 project was still going ahead as planned.

Speaking during the presentation of Audi’s Q3 results, which saw revenue rise to €50.4 billion in the first three quarters, operating profit reaches €4.6 billion and a net cash flow of €3.5 billion, CFO Rittersberger responded to questions about Audi’s F1 entry and replied that they were “steadfast” in their commitment to press on with their plans.

PlanetF1.com also approached Audi earlier this month and was told “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.”

The speculation behind this reported exit started in June when CEO Markus Duesmann was given a leave of absence by the German giants and replaced by Gernot Döllner. The latter does reportedly not share the same motorsport vision as his predecessor and was said to be mulling over a change of tact.

Such a decision would leave not only a hole on the grid but a considerable hole in Audi’s finances.

Audi have already begun manufacturing the engine at their Neuburg base in Germany and have spent a reported €140 million with €105 million spent annually on development. On the chassis side of things, staffing levels have been expanded to 900 employees and Audi spent a reported $450 million to acquire the Sauber team.

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There is also the staffing matter with CEO of Audi Formula Racing GmbH Adam Baker revealing to PlanetF1.com in April that they had recruited “around 50” tech experts including from rival teams to run the project.

That number will rise but according to another German outlet Bild, the current F1 teams are now warning their staff about the pitfalls of joining the “stillborn” project.

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