Audi buys minority stake in Sauber ahead of 2026 entry
Audi Formula 1 car show model on August 26, 2022 in Belgium after the announcement of participation in the Belgian F1 Grand Prix.
Sem van der Wal | ANP | Getty Images
Audi’s entry into Formula One is one step closer after the German automaker acquired a minority stake in Sauber.
The purchase comes three months after Sauber confirmed it would be a strategic partner for Audi when the German marque enters F1 in 2026.
The Swiss designer’s current partnership with Alfa Romeo will end after next season.
“This is an important milestone on the road to Audi’s F1 entry scheduled for 2026, where the Sauber Group will become a strategic partner for the German brand,” Sauber said in a statement.
Sauber will work with Ferrari powertrains in 2024 and 2025 before Audi gets involved.
Speaking in October, Sauber’s then-team principal Frederik Wasser called the partnership “the best option for the future.”
“Becoming an Audi official working team is not only an honor and a great responsibility, it is the best option for the future and we are fully confident that we can help Audi achieve the goals they have set for themselves in Formula 1,” he said.
Jan 14 Andreas Seidl replaced Vasser as chief executive of Sauber after the latter joined ferrariand will oversee Audi’s entry into Formula 1.
This is Sauber’s second full working agreement after their collaboration with bmw in the 2000s, owner Finn Rausing insisted that Audi was “the best strategic partner” for the company.
Now the goal will be to return to at least the top half of midfield.
Sauber, which made its first F1 debut in 1993, partnered with Alfa Romeo in 2018 but is still operating on a smaller budget than nearly all of its rivals and has been at the bottom of the grid ever since.
The Audi connection will certainly help their cause as the automaker develops engines at its German base and the chassis is still expected to be based at Sauber in Switzerland.
The new generation of F1 engines will have increased electrical power and 100% green fuel.
“We are delighted to have such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious F1 project,” said Oliver Hoffman, F1 board member at Audi, who is in charge of the F1 program at the corporate level.
In a statement sent sky Sports, An Audi spokesman said it was a “key milestone” for the German’s 2026 F1 entry.
“As part of the acquisition, Julius Seebach joined Sauber’s board of directors as an official representative of Audi AG,” the statement said.
Last week it was announced that Alessandro Alunni Bravi will take over the leadership role. under Seidl, which will see him take over media duties during the 2023 seasons.
Alunni Bravi, who is also managing director of the Sauber Group, which manages the Swiss-based team, has been given the official title of team spokesperson.
Sauber competes like Alfa Romeo, effectively being a title sponsor stellantis– own brand. This deal is due to close after the 2023 season, when the team will drive for Audi from 2026.
Audi confirmed in August that they would compete in Formula 1 for four years as a powertrain supplier and was previously associated with a partnership with McLaren.
Guy Volkswagen The Porsche brand, meanwhile, has seen the Red Bull deal fall through but still retains an interest in F1.