Audi has announced that it will partner with Sauber ahead of its planned entry to Formula 1 for the 2026 season.
The German manufacturer will become a strategic partner with the Swiss motorsport team and has acquired a stake in the Sauber Group, following its confirmation earlier this year that it will enter F1 as a power unit supplier.
The partnership with Sauber is a logical one, as their headquarters in Hinwil, Switzerland are just 400km away from Audi Sport's Neuburg facility.
Audi AG Board Member and Responsible for F1 Programme, Oliver Hoffmann, believes Sauber's experience and state-of-the-art facilities will be a valuable starting point for the teams ambitious F1 project.
“We are delighted to have gained such an experienced and competent partner for our ambitious Formula 1 project," said Hoffmann.
"We already know the Sauber Group with its state-of-the-art facility and experienced team from previous collaborations and are convinced that together we will form a strong team."
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Vasseur: Audi partnership key step towards making it to front of the grid
Although Sauber confirmed that its partnership with Alfa Romeo would be coming to an end in 2023, the team will still compete in 2024 and 2025 with Ferrari power units.
The team has made progress since the 2022 regulation change in finishing further up the grid, but according to Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur, the partnership with Audi will be a "key step" for breaking out of the midfield in the future.
Vasseur said: “The partnership between Audi AG and Sauber Motorsport is a key step for our team as we continue to make progress towards the front of the grid.
"To become Audi’s official works team is not only an honour and a great responsibility: it’s the best option for the future and we are fully confident we can help Audi achieve the objectives they have set for their journey in F1.”
Sauber Holding AG Chairman of the Board of Directors, Finn Rausing, added: “Audi is the best strategic partner for the Sauber Group. It is clear that we share values and a vision, and we look forward to achieving our common goals in a strong and successful partnership.”
Strategic alliance gives further evidence to F1 2026 regulations 'being attractive to OEMs'
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem noted that the alliance between the two marquee brands provides evidence that the 2026 F1 regulations are attractive to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
“The strategic alliance between Sauber Motorsport and Audi is a significant step for Formula 1,” said Ben Sulayem.
“It provides further evidence that the FIA’s 2026 Regulations are attractive to OEMs such as Audi at a time of significant growth for the sport.”
President and CEO of F1, Stefano Domenicali, echoed that it highlights the momentum of growth seen by F1 in the last few years and how it will benefit their goals to reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2030.
He said: “It is great news to hear that Audi will have a partnership with Sauber for their entry into Formula 1 in 2026. The combination of those two names is a very exciting prospect for our sport.
"It highlights the strong momentum that F1 has and the belief in our strategy to further grow and enhance the sport while delivering on our sustainability plans to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030 with advanced sustainable fuels in the cars in 2026.
'We look forward to seeing their progress over the coming years and the car on the grid for the team’s first race.”
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