Rumours have intensified in German media in recent weeks that Audi is seriously reconsidering its decision to enter F1 from 2026.
Talks are said to be talking place at the highest level in the near future to evaluate the progress of the project, but RacingNews365.com understands that the rumours are contradictory to the progress Audi has already made.
The German car manufacturer is attracting a large workforce which has already started work on making the 2026 F1 engine.
In the relatively small world of F1, this also means that Audi is currently managing to take staff away from other F1 teams. That is the only way for Audi to compete with a competitive car upon entry, but it is a kick in the teeth for the competition. They are therefore swayed by rumors that Audi is about to pull the plug on the F1 project.
RacingNews365.com understands that there are no meetings scheduled at Audi to discuss pulling out of the project. All indications are that the team is heading in the right direction by working on the structure created by the experienced Andreas Seidl. The German knows better than anyone else that the team benefits from calm, so the former McLaren team boss seems focused on continuing to work on building the team.
It is clear that Sauber, which is being bought in stages by Audi, is currently far too small to be competitive. As a result, Audi has already hired hundreds more people to build a team as quickly as possible, which in terms of size at least should be ready to compete with teams such as Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari.
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Why did the Audi rumours start?
Since it was announced that Audi would enter F1, there were rumours about a possible withdrawal of the team. This is because not everyone within the Volkswagen Group would be convinced by the choice.
For example, there are determining people within the organization who would rather see Porsche in the king class of motorsport. The driving man behind the Audi project was the then-CEO of the company, Markus Duesmann. Rumours indicated that he would have worked on his own and made the choice to enter F1 without the support of the Volkswagen Group.
Unclear if that is also the reason for Duesmann's departure from Audi in September of 2023. However, his departure did reinforce rumours that the Volkswagen Group was not satisfied with the choice Duesmann made regarding the F1 project.
At the same time, Audi did make the first payment to Sauber at this time. They will make the following payments in phases and thus get their hands on Sauber's entire team in time to change its name to Audi in 2026.
Duesmann's successor, Gernot Doellner, worked for Porsche for a long time during his career and that is precisely why there are once again rumours of a possible switch from Audi to Porsche. However, a change on that scale carries many consequences.
Financially, it would cost the Volkswagen Group a lot of money to make this change possible and also Audi suffers a loss of face if it would have to cede its F1 team to Porsche.
Those factors, plus the previously mentioned fact that Audi has already brought in an immense amount of personnel, is already using its facilities for the F1 project and, for example, is stopping the Dakar project after January to put its full focus on F1, seem to make the rumours of a possible withdrawal much weaker.