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Audi F1 make key move for aero leader behind Red Bull and Vettel domination

The latest piece in the growing puzzle for Audi as it advances towards being in F1 in 2026.

Audi's push towards finally joining F1 in 2026 has led to it signing an aerodynamics leader who played a crucial role in Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel's domination of the sport from 2010 to 2013.

Stefano Sordo has been signed to the newly-created position of performance director at Sauber, currently operating under the Stake name for this season and in 2025 before German manufacturing giant Audi takes over the following year.

Sordo initially worked with Arrows and Jaguar in F1 before joining Red Bull in late 2004 as a race engineer for a year, then taking up the same role with Toro Rosso for a 12-month spell.

The Italian returned to Red Bull at the start of 2007 as aero performance team leader, a position he occupied for seven years covering the Vettel successes, before graduating to head of aero performance in 2014.

In late 2016, Sordo joined McLaren and spent six years with the team, initially as head and then director of vehicle performance F1. Since October 2022, he has served as technical director of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the United States.

Hailing Sordo's unique experience, and proven track record in race- and championship-winning outfits, Sauber Group CEO Andreas Seidl said: “The appointment of Stefano is an important step in the development of the structure of our technical department."

Audi adventure 'just around the corner'

Believing that Sordo "knows what a winning squad needs", he added that he "brings a wealth of experience to the team and, with the different array of roles he played in the past, he is perfectly placed to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of our technical operations, and address what is required.

"We have a strong technical team in Hinwil, and Stefano’s appointment will help us to harness these skills and turn them into performance as we continue in this crucial time for our outfit, with the Audi F1 works team being readied for its debut.”

Highlighting his role as one that will "have a direct impact on unlocking the performance we already have within our company", Sordo is determined to "help it reach new heights".

He added: "The team is at a crucial juncture in its history, with the start of the Audi adventure just around the corner, and I am looking forward to tackling the challenge that lies ahead.

"I am excited about what the future holds: the targets the team has set for itself are ambitious, but I see a lot of confidence from everyone within this organisation.” 

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