Audi will be joining Formula 1! Even years ago, there were persistent rumours that Formula 1 might include a new manufacturer (or several). The most frequently mentioned possibilities for entering the well-known motorsport are Porsche or Audi.
It appeared more likely that Porsche would be the Volkswagen Group brand to enter Formula One, rather than the other way around, because Audi was accelerating its move to alternate fuels and electrification. However, during the past few months, there have been more and more rumours about Audi around the paddock.
Audi finally made it official during a "special" news conference held just before the Belgian Grand Prix weekend gets underway by announcing it has started making plans to enter Formula 1 in 2026. FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, Audi AG CEO Markus Duesmann, and Audi Chief Technical Officer Oliver Hoffmann all spoke at the news conference.
Why would Audi join Formula 1? "Motorsport is an integral part of Audi's DNA," says Markus Duesmann. "Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory. 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."
Duesmann clearly refers to the "new rules"—which will take effect with the 2026 season, coinciding with the time that Audi intends to enter the sport—when he uses the phrase. Although internal combustion engines will still be used in Formula 1 in 2026, the new regulations will produce power sources with a "net zero" carbon footprint.
F1 intends to do this by mandating that engines utilise biofuels rather than conventional juice from extinct dinosaurs. In addition, the current electric motor will be replaced by a brand-new one that is three times more powerful. In contrast to the approximately 850 horsepower that modern cars with twin-turbo V-6 engines produce, the end result is 1,000 horsepower of green energy.
Although this is only conjecture, if Audi really intends to use F1 as a "laboratory," then anticipate that the automaker will draw on that relationship with racing to create its electrified road vehicles. It might even imply that Audi is looking towards consumer biofuel hybrid vehicles in addition to its lineup of all-electric vehicles, which includes the 2023 Q4 e-Tron and e-Tron GT. Technically, a biofuel combustion engine may even get around laws like California's upcoming rule that would outlaw fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2030.