Audi enters the premier motorsport category, Formula 1

Audi’s Formula 1


From 2026, the premium brand will participate in the FIA ​​Formula 1 World Championship with an engine specially developed for the occasion. The project will be tested at Audi Sport’s site in Neuburg, near Ingolstadt. It is the first time in more than ten years that a Formula 1 power unit will be built in Germany.

Audi announced its participation at a press conference during the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. At the event, Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AUDI AG, and Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Technical Development, answered questions together with Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali and Mohammed ben Sulayem, President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA,” said Markus Duesmann. “Formula 1 is a global stage for our brand and an extremely stimulating development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always an engine of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, it’s a good time to get involved. After all, both Formula 1 and Audi have clear sustainability goals.”

The key to getting involved in this world-class competition is having a clear plan to become more sustainable and profitable. The new technical rules, which will apply from 2026, focus on greater electrification and advanced sustainable fuel. In addition to the current cost cap for teams, a cost cap for engine manufacturers will be introduced in 2023. In addition, Formula 1 has set an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Actively contributing to the transformation of Formula 1

Oliver Hoffmann, member of the technical development board, said: “Given the great technological advances made by Formula 1 to achieve greater sustainability by 2026, we can speak of a new era of Formula 1. 1. F1 is changing and Audi actively wants to support this change. A close link between our Formula 1 project and the technical development department at AUDI AG will create synergies.”

From 2026, the electric power of the engines, consisting of an electric motor, a battery, an electronic control unit and a combustion engine, will increase significantly compared to current Formula 1 systems. powerful as the combustion engine, whose power is about 400 kW (544 hp). The high-efficiency 1.6-litre turbo engines run on a new, more sustainable type of fuel, which is also a prerequisite for Audi’s entry into the competition.

Great popularity in strategic markets and among young people

Globally recognized, highly emotional and technologically advanced – that’s how Formula 1 met Audi’s demands. F1 runs races in all the brand’s relevant markets. As a spectacular event for electrified racing cars, F1 is of particular interest to automakers. Audi is taking on the challenge of proving its “Vorsprung durch Technik” in this competitive environment.

The Formula 1 championship is one of the most watched sporting events in the world. In 2021, over 1.5 billion spectators watched the races. F1 is very popular in strategic markets like China and the US, and the trend continues to grow – even among young people. On social media, Formula 1 is now experiencing the highest growth rates in the world among popular sports.

The Neuburg site will be responsible for developing the engine

The powertrain will be built in Audi Sport’s modern Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg an der Donau, not far from AUDI AG’s headquarters in Ingolstadt. “For the development and manufacture of the Formula 1 powertrain, we will rely on the valuable know-how of our motorsport employees, we will continue to invest in our motorsport center and we will also recruit highly specialized professionals,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director at Audi. Sport, who organized the entry into Formula 1 as part of Audi’s motorsport realignment.

In Neubourg there are already test benches for testing F1 engines, as well as for testing electric motors and batteries. Other necessary preparations are under way, mainly in terms of personnel, buildings and technical infrastructure, and everything should be ready by the end of the year. A separate company was recently established for powertrain development as a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi Sport. Adam Baker will take over the management of the company and therefore the Formula 1 project as CEO. This engineer by training has held various positions of responsibility for manufacturers and motorsport teams. Before joining Audi in 2021, he worked at the FIA ​​for three years.

Audi will announce the decision on which team to line up with in 2026 by the end of the year.

Formula 1 decision sets direction for motorsport

Audi Sport is joining forces for the Formula 1 project and therefore abandoning its LMDh project. The motorsport division had recently suspended development of the sports car for endurance racing. Alongside customer racing, Audi Sport will continue its innovation project with the RS Q e-tron at the Dakar Rally. Next year, Audi seeks ultimate victory in the desert.

Whether in the World Rally Championship, World Sports Car Championship, US Motorsport, DTM, Le Mans or Formula E, Audi Sport has set standards in many categories with many titles. “Formula 1 is the next big step in Audi’s motorsport history,” says Julius Seebach.

Rolf Michl succeeds Julius Seebach

Audi’s entry into Formula 1 marks the completion of the restructuring of its motorsport, but also the end of a formative period at Audi Sport GmbH. Managing Director Julius Seebach will join AUDI AG on September 1, 2022 and will take over a new strategic business area in technical development, reporting directly to the Board of Directors.

Oliver Hoffmann, who in his role as a member of the executive board is also chairman of the advisory board of Audi Sport GmbH, would like to thank Seebach for his performance: “Julius stands for strategic vision, consistent action and sustainable results. in difficult times.” Under his leadership, Audi Sport GmbH repeatedly achieved record sales and profits. Sales doubled with the RS model offensive and the commercialization of the all-electric RS e-tron GT was completed.”

In 2020, Julius Seebach also took responsibility for Audi’s motorsport and decisively prepared it for the future. Under his leadership, the most complex racing car in Audi’s history was developed in record time: the RS Q e-tron for the Dakar rally. After a successful debut with four victories at the Dakar Rally in January, the Audi RS Q e-tron claimed its first overall victory in Abu Dhabi in March – the first triumph for an electric car in a desert rally. Entering Formula 1 is the culmination of his work.

From 1 September, Rolf Michl, who has served as Chief Operating Officer of Audi Sport since February, will succeed Seebach. Along with Dr. Sebastian Grams, he will form the board of directors of Audi Sport GmbH. Rolf Michl has a degree in business administration and is a long-time member of the Audi Sport family. After holding various marketing roles at AUDI AG and Audi Sport, he assumed the role of Product Marketing Director for RS models in 2016. After moving to Abt Sportsline as Director of Vehicle Personalization, he returned to Audi Sport GmbH. as Director of Sales and Marketing in 2019. Michl has played a key role in shaping the company’s portfolio and commercial successes over time. Hoffmann notes that “Rolf is a genuine leader and brings with him the experience he will need in motorsport and series production”. In addition to his marketing duties, Michl was responsible for the design and implementation of the Audi Sport TT Cup in 2014.

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