Audi to make $450m F1 entry in 2026 after former Ferrari allies agree terms


VW Group car giant Audi AG has reached a deal to acquire the Sauber F1 team; the German team plans to enter the F1 grid in 2026.

F1’s popularity has exploded in recent years and the sport has grown exponentially. The motorsport push has attracted major automotive giants to bid for the elusive F1 grid. One of them is the German sports car manufacturer Audi.

Audi is one of the most renowned brands and is present all over the world. The company has a racing pedigree and has participated in Le Mans, World Endurance Championships, rallies and until recently, Formula E.

They are part of the Volkswagen group. Since 2021, Audi has been aiming for a place on the F1 grid ahead of the 2026 rule change. In a recent press release in May, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess agreed to the team participating in F1.

According to F1 journalist Joe Saward, Audi and Alfa Romeo Sauber have agreed on a deal allowing the German team to enter F1. The deal, worth $450 million, means Audi will acquire the team.

The VW Group has confirmed that it will not be involved in team operations. It will be a full Audi car with engines built by Audi Sport GmbH in Germany. He gave details of the case in his blog.

“The rumor is that the deal is worth around $450m and will see Audi acquire 75% of the team’s shares, valuing it at $600m. The sale is conditional on F1 technical rules for 2026 is confirmed by the FIA ​​but will be a staggered three-year deal with Audi taking control of the first 25 per cent of the shares in 2023, a further 25 per cent in 2024 and a third 25 per cent in 2025.

Read also : Lewis Hamilton confirms the arrival of Porsche and Audi in Formula 1

Why Audi and Porsche want to enter F1 in 2026

Audi is not the only one to take steps to enter F1. Fellow German sports car rival Porsche is also up for an entry. Porsche, also under the VW group, collaborates with Red Bull. While Andretti plans to make a newcomer, adding 11 teams to the grid.

So that begs the question, why are teams rushing to enter F1 in 2026? Besides the skyrocketing fan base and brand image, two of the main reasons are hybrid power and regulatory change. F1 has a major rule change coming ahead of the 2026 season. This levels the whole grid.

Power units should be more durable with a further shift to hybrid power. Automakers see this as a great opportunity to showcase their sustainable businesses and clean up their image.

Saward writes: “The new F1 rules in 2026 are exactly what the industry wants as it moves towards sustainability, with hyper-efficient engines and synthetic fuels. There may be others who will also want to jump on the bandwagon.

Read also : Porsche set to take over 50% stake from Red Bull Racing


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