Audi confirms 2026 F1 entry, Sauber partnership rumored

F1 Audi

German auto giants Audi have announced their entry into F1 from 2026, on the same day Alfa Romeo “communicate[s]” the end of their partnership with Sauber Motorsport.

Audi have ended speculation by confirming its entry into Formula 1 from 2026, as a power unit supplier.

An F1 car bearing the “four rings” logo was unveiled by representatives from Audi Sport at Spa-Francorchamps this morning, ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. The announcement comes a week after Porsche – who, like Audi, are owned by the VW Group – gave their biggest hint yet of a return to F1, also for 2026 – the year the new power unit regulations take effect.

Audi have never competed in Formula 1 in any guise, but their standing within motorsport is high. World Rally Champions during the 80s, their most notable feat has come in endurance racing, particularly the Le Mans 24 Hours, in which it won thirteen times in eighteen years. The company has recently taken its first steps in single-seater racing in the form of Formula E, becoming the Constructors’ Champions in 2018, a year after Lucas di Grassi won the Drivers’ title for the team.

Sauber Partnership?

Shortly after Audi’s announcement, Alfa Romeo released a statement announcing the end of their partnership with Sauber Motorsport at the end of next season. Rumors had previously swirled that Audi may partner with McLaren, but speculation is now fuelled towards the Swiss outfit becoming their first customer.

Since entering Formula 1 in 1993, Sauber has had partnerships with Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and Ferrari (who have supplied engines between 1997-2005, and 2010 to the present day, alongside the moniker of Alfa Romeo). Their most successful period was between 2006-08 when a majority stake in the team was bought by BMW, and their engines helped them to the team’s only win to date. That victory came in Canada by Robert Kubica which gave him a springboard to mount an unlikely title challenge and ended the season in 4th place.

Featured Image Credit: JOHN THYS / AFP via Getty Images