In mid-August, the World Motor Sport Council approved new F1 rules for 2026, most notably a new engine design that will introduce new players to the sport. It didn’t take long for a major car manufacturer to announce its intention to dive into the world of F1.
Audi announced on Friday, local time, that it will join Formula One in 2026. it is understood that the automaker will join as an engine supplier, meaning it will build the powerplants for the established teams. Audi has yet to announce any partners, with rumors pointing to Sauber (which currently operates as Alfa Romeo), but Audi noted in its press release that a decision on teammates should wait until the end of the year.
Audi will produce its powerplant on the road at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, and it will be the first time in more than 10 years that the powertrain for a Formula One car will be produced in Germany. The automaker said it already has test stands for engines, electric motors and batteries, plus hopes to have a stockpile of personnel and additional infrastructure in place by the end of the year. Related operations will then be handled by a separate subsidiary of Audi’s motorsport division. To give the project its full attention, Audi will discontinue its World Endurance Championship LMDh prototype program.
F1’s new engine regulations make it quite easy to join the sport. The complex heat recovery system (MGU-H) will be abandoned in favor of a larger, more powerful regenerative braking system that will feed energy into a battery that will power an electric motor almost as powerful as the internal combustion engine it is paired with. Half of the powertrain’s gasoline engine will also run on sustainable fuel.
Undoubtedly, Audi will not be the only member of the Volkswagen Group that will venture into Formula One. Porsche is also reportedly waiting for F1’s 2026 rules to debut before announcing its own entry into the sport. There are rumors that Porsche could take Honda’s place as Red Bull’s engine supplier, but no official announcement has been made yet.