Audi Sport set to electrify Formula 1

Audi, along with its high-performance division, Audi Sport, enters Formula 1 in 2026. This means the brand is set to lead the highest class of motorsports in tackling its most challenging ambition to date — combining sustainability through innovation while consistently aiming for maximum performance.

Audi’s decision was hinged on new regulations introduced by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world’s motorsports’ governing body. Among other things, the FIA requires using sustainable synthetic fuels and increasing the electric drive of racecars’ power units by up to 50% come 2026. With this, Audi intends to actively drive the transformation of the world’s top race series.

Audi will announce which team it will be working with at the end of this year.

Audi’s Formula 1 program will be based at Audi Sport’s facility in Neuburg near Ingolstadt, marking the first time in more than a decade that a Formula 1 power train will be built in Germany. The Formula 1 program is set to spearhead the factory’s motorsports activities.

Aiming to become carbon-neutral by 2030, Formula 1’s future focus on greater electrification and use of sustainable fuel aligns with Audi’s own sustainability goals.

Audi considers Formula 1 as both a global stage for the brand and a highly challenging development laboratory, according to Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management at Audi AG.

“Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA. The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula 1 and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals,” he said.

Audi RS-Q e-tron will compete for overall victory in only its second year, come 2023, at the legendary Dakar Rally.

Along with a clear plan to become more sustainable and cost-efficient, Formula 1’s future focus on greater electrification and use of advanced sustainable fuel also involve adding to the existing cap on costs for teams, and a cost cap for power unit manufacturers. Formula 1 is also aiming to become a carbon-neutral racing series by 2030 — which aligns with Audi’s own sustainability goals.

From 2026, the electric output for Formula 1 cars’ power units — consisting of an electric motor, battery, control electronics, and a combustion engine — will significantly increase compared to the current drive systems. By that time the electric motor will be nearly as powerful as the combustion engine, which has an output of about 544 hp. The highly efficient 1.6-liter turbo engines run on advanced sustainable fuel, also a prerequisite for Audi’s entry into the series.

Audi Sport is already leading the way in making fully electric production models dynamic and fascinating, as exemplified by the Audi RS e-tron GT (seen here in a Formula E event).

Audi Sport is pooling its strengths for the Formula 1 project as it suspends developments in endurance racing. But Audi Sport will continue its involvement in customer racing in various motorsports series across the world, as well as its innovation project with the RS-Q e-tron in the Dakar Rally where the team — in only its second year in 2023 at the legendary event — will compete for overall victory already.

Audi Sport has set the standards in numerous race categories through multiple title wins in World Rally Championship, World Sportscar Championship, DTM, Le Mans and Formula E, among others. Formula 1 is the next major milestone in Audi’s motorsport history.

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