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Red Bull comparisons drawn to Audi F1 expectations

Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger has drawn upon his experience and past examples to inform his opinion about how competitive Audi will be upon entering F1.

Audi showcar
To news overview © Audi

Audi's immediate competitiveness when it enters F1 in 2026 has been called into question by 10-time grand prix winner Gerhard Berger.

The Austrian, best known for his stints at Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren, has drawn upon previous examples to inform his opinion.

Due to the size of the Audi project and its standing in motorsport globally, there are high expectations for the German marque to hit the ground running when its transition from Sauber/Stake F1 is complete.

Berger has cautioned against predicting instant success, reinforcing his point by highlighting the parallels from his own experience of big projects entering F1.

"You should not underestimate a debut in the highest motorsport class," the 64-year-old told BILD. "It requires patience on the way to the top and few mistakes.

"I remember Red Bull, which I was quite close to at the time. Despite the arrival of Adrian Newey, for example, a lot of mistakes were made and it took six years before they were a winning team."

Berger compares Audi to Schumacher's Ferrari

Audi has enjoyed considerable success in motorsport, in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Dakar Rally.

Between 2000 and 2014, it won 13 Le Mans. This year, it won the Dakar Rally as well, at the hands of Carlos Sainz Sr. - whose son is Audi's preferred choice to partner Nico Hulkenberg at the team.

Therefore, expectations are high, and internally, success is a non-negotiable, with CEO of the Audi project Andreas Seidl previously saying: "When a brand like Audi enters Formula 1, there can only be one goal: to fight for victories and titles."

Berger, however, feels that level might take some time to reach. In extension of pinpointing past projects that have entered F1 and taken time to achieve, the 10-time grand prix winner zeroed in on his former team, Ferrari, at the time it took for the Italians to win with Michael Schumacher - who he was replaced by at the Scuderia.

"Audi has the resources and the great advantage that they are already involved with Sauber in the background," added Berger. "But in my opinion, it is going to take at least five years before they will be up front.

"Look at Ferrari at the beginning of this century. Despite Michael Schumacher and the ideal setup of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, that team needed five years before they started winning world titles."

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