Audi acquire first stake in Sauber Group ahead of 2026 F1 entry

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Audi has acquired a minority stake in the Sauber Group ahead of their entry into Formula 1 in 2026.

The German manufacturer confirmed its first foray into F1 at last year's Belgian Grand Prix before announcing a strategic partnership with Sauber a month later.

Preparations for their entry are already well underway with the expansion of Audi Sport's base in Neuburg to develop the new 2026-spec power units.

Meanwhile, at Sauber, former CEO and team boss Fred Vasseur has since joined Ferrari and been replaced by Andreas Seidl, previously of McLaren, with Alessandro Alunni Bravi promoted to team representative at race weekends.

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On Monday, another "important milestone" was reached with Audi buying their first stake in the Sauber Group, a stake that is set to increase further in the coming years before the Swiss team officially becomes Audi in 2026.

And speaking about the company's decision to enter F1, CEO Adam Baker explained the timing was simply right for Audi.

“There is no single reason, there are several factors that have aligned to make it extremely attractive for manufacturers, in particular for Audi,” he told Spain's AS.

“F1 is in a transition period with a sustainable concept for the championship. With new rules, which will introduce innovative power units focused on the electrical part, plus sustainable fuels, it is aligned with Audi’s future strategy, directed towards electric mobility. 

“Also, F1 has increased in popularity. It is by far the best media and marketing tool in the motorsport world, and one of the best in any industry.

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"At the same time, F1 has achieved cost reduction and that makes it even more attractive. The engines of 2026 will have a spending ceiling and that, in addition to limiting costs, provides certainty about long-term budgets. 

“If you want a fantastic platform to demonstrate your competence and knowledge 24 times a year, this is the best place.”

While Sauber, who currently races under the Alfa Romeo name until the end of 2023, only finished sixth in last year's Constructors' Championship, Baker is also setting an ambitious timeline for success.

“We want to be competitive in three years,” he said, which would mean by the end of 2028.

“It is a realistic goal. We want to compete for wins in the third year.”