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Audi adds key piece to F1 puzzle

The German manufacturer will join the grid in 2026 and is ramping up its preparations.

Audi has continued its F1 preparations by recruiting Neel Jani as its simulator driver. The German marque will enter the sport in 2026 as an OEM, with Sauber becoming the works Audi team. Jani has amassed vast experience across his career, having competed in single-seaters and endurance racing. The Swiss driver has been crowned champion in the former World Cup of Motorsport, A1GP, and has taken Le Mans 24 Hours overall victory as part of the 2016 Porsche effort. Jani has also racked up F1 development experience as part of Red Bull's stable of drivers, having begun as test driver with Toro Rosso in 2006. "Just like in production development, simulation plays a major role in our Formula 1 project. Our simulator is an important tool for the power unit development," said Board Member for Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann. "It requires a development driver who in addition to a grasp of technology brings versatile experience to the project, especially in terms of energy management in racing conditions"

Great responsibility

Jani added: "I am delighted to accompany Audi on their way into Formula 1. "It is both an honour and a great responsibility to be involved in a project of this magnitude at an early stage. "I am sure that with my experience from Formula 1 and LMP projects I can forge good links between theory and practice." Audi Formula Racing CEO Adam Baker explained: "At the moment, we are mainly focused on fundamental concept questions with high relevance to performance. "However, in evaluating various technical solutions we rely not only on digital methods. Know-how, experience and practically relevant development are indispensable elements of drawing the right conclusions from the simulation. "With that combination, we can assess various operating strategies at an early stage and pave the way for efficient energy management of the power unit."

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