Audi set to announce 2026 F1 entry early next year

23 December 2021 - autocar

Audi set to announce 2026 F1 entry early next year

Manufacturer has notified the FIA that it is "close to the finish line" on making a final decision

Audi has described itself as “close to the finish line” in its deliberations on entering Formula 1 in a letter written to the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and seen by Autocar.

The Volkswagen Group has been evaluating entries for Audi and Porsche from 2026, when major rule changes are planned to introduce new, more environmentally conscious powertrains and reduce costs of competing substantially. It has been included in discussions regarding new technical regulations as a result, including a renewed focus on using sustainable fuels and more electrical assistance.

In the letter, addressed to outgoing FIA president Jean Todt, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann and Oliver Hoffmann, its head of technical development, wrote: “Thanks to your efforts we are now close to the finish line. Recently, we saw another milestone being reached - the first draft of the technical, sporting and financial regulations… We believe that it contains satisfying solutions for all the objectives.”

The letter goes on to highlight that any decision to enter the sport must still be approved by the supervisory board of the Volkswagen Group, but adds: “We look forward to working with you and your team, to complete this important process and to confirm our Formula 1 entry early next year.”

There is no news on whether Porsche could compete as well, or whether the Volkswagen Group will opt instead to just enter Audi, in what would be billed as a head-to-head with arch-rival Mercedes.

It is also unclear if Audi intends to enter the sport as a full factory team or as an engine supplier. It is believed that talks with McLaren and Red Bull about a partnership are ongoing, potentially with equity stakes in the race teams being discussed.

However, while McLaren has acknowledged 'early stage’ talks with Audi, it has said that other potential partners are also in discussions with it, with a view to investing either in the race team or the entire group of companies.

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