Audi’s Takeover of Sauber Set to Benefit Team in Short Term

Audi's move to acquire a 100% stake in Sauber ahead of schedule is designed to boost the team's performance before 2026.

Ben

By Ben Bush
Published on March 15, 2024

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The German car giant Audi is slated to join the Formula 1 grid in 2026, with a dedicated engine and chassis development program. This follows the company’s initial acquisition of a 25% share in Sauber Motorsport at the beginning of last year.

Despite earlier concerns that Audi might cap its investment at 75% closer to its grid entry in 2026, the company has decided to speed up its plans, opting for complete ownership.

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This decision is set to secure the Swiss team’s long-term future while also promising immediate advantages, as noted by Sauber’s F1 Head of Trackside Engineering, Xevi Pujolar.

“For sure, it is encouraging for the future,” he said. “But also, we need to think about today, no?”

Pujolar, who has previously worked with F1 teams such as Jaguar, Williams, and Toro Rosso, believes that Audi’s financial backing will significantly bolster the team’s chassis development in the upcoming seasons.

“I would say it is important in terms of budget possibilities, and what we can build in the next year and a half or two years before Audi [arrives] fully and we are Audi.

“So, just to have the team ready, and we just need to do as much as we can now to build that team to be ready when it matters.

“But in that time, we want to still be competitive, and we want to fight for the points every single race.

“I will say that even with all the issues that we have got, that gives us energy, and a positive mindset that what is coming is better and there is a light at the end of the tunnel just to make sure that we are successful.

“That’s what we want to do. To be successful.”

Previously racing under the Alfa Romeo banner, Sauber ended the 2023 season in ninth place in the constructors’ standings. The team initially benefited from hitting the minimum weight requirement at the start of the new 2022 regulations, which introduced ground-effect aerodynamics. However, it eventually lost this early advantage to other teams as they caught up.

Audi’s move to speed up its acquisition of Sauber has quashed rumours suggesting the company might be reconsidering its Formula 1 ambition. These rumours gained traction following the departure of CEO Markus Duesmann and the appointment of Gernot Dollner, who reportedly harboured doubts about the programme.

In a show of commitment to its F1 project, Audi has appointed Oliver Hoffmann, its former chief development officer and chairman for all Sauber companies. In addition to this, Andreas Seidl, the former McLaren team principal, has been appointed CEO of the Audi F1 team.

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush
Ben

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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