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Audi will join Formula 1 as a hybrid engine supplier for 2026

The German auto giant said F1's push for sustainability was one of the reasons to join.

Audi / F1

After months of innuendo, speculation and rumor, German car giant Audi has announced that it will join Formula One from the 2026 season. The VW-owned company says it will build a new hybrid engine for the competition at its facility in Neuburg. Audi said that technical changes made by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, to prevent cost overruns and improve sustainability prompted it to sign up. It’s hoped Audi will help push the sport to its ambitious goal of being climate neutral by 2030.

Broadly speaking, the FIA’s new engine specifications require a V6 engine designed to run on a more sustainable fuel blend. Paired with that will be a 400kW electric motor with an output of around 544 horsepower, making it almost as powerful as the V6 itself. Audi added that its project will be led by Adam Baker, who has previously served as the FIA’s Safety Director, and had stints with Cosworth (another F1 engine maker) and BMW.

Audi said it will announce which team it will work with “by the end of this year,” but most F1 fans feel it’s already a done deal. The longstanding rumor is that Audi will buy a majority stake in Swiss motorsport company Sauber, which currently races under the Alfa Romeo livery. As Planet F1 reports, Sauber has already been the subject of takeover talks this year and could benefit from a big auto giant’s backing.

Given the fact we’re still some years away from Audi’s first race, it’s not clear how any of this will impact the storylines on Drive To Survive, which I know is what most of you are worried about. Whatever happens, I’m sure Christian Horner will find a way to be face-punchingly smug about it.