German automotive manufacturer Audi announced its entry for the 2026 Formula 1 World Championship during a press conference at the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. The premium brand of the Volkswagen Group is set to join with hybrid and electric motors, as well as using synthetic fuels.
Formula 1 racing wants all the participating vehicles to run on synthetic fuels from 2026, part of a wider plan of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, which had prompted Audi to re-enter the world’s most popular racing series. The new technical rules, which will apply from 2026, focus on greater electrification and advanced sustainable fuel. In addition to the existing cap on costs for teams, a cost cap for power unit manufacturers will be introduced in 2023.
“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”, said Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG.
Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA. 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.Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG
The automotive manufacturer believes that the electric power output will increase sharply by 2026, compared to today’s Formula 1 drive systems. The electric motor will then be nearly as powerful as the combustion engine, which has an output of about 400 kW (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.
“In view of the major technological leaps that the series is making towards sustainability in 2026, we can speak of a new Formula 1. Formula 1 is transforming, and Audi wants to actively support this journey. A close link between our Formula 1 project and Audi AG’s Technical Development department will enable synergies”, said Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development.
The power unit will be built at Audi Sport’s Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg an der Donau, not far from Audi AG’s company headquarters in Ingolstadt. “For the development and manufacture of the Formula 1 power train, we will build on the valuable expertise of our motorsport employees, continue to invest in our motorsports centre, and also recruit highly specialized professionals,” said Audi Sport Managing Director Julius Seebach, who organized the entry into Formula 1 as part of Audi’s realignment of motorsport.
There are already test several benches for F1 engine testing in Neuburg, as well as for electric motor and battery testing. A separate company was recently founded for the power unit project as a wholly owned subsidiary of Audi Sport. Adam Baker will take over the management of the company and thus the Formula 1 project as CEO.
Audi will announce a decision on which team they will be lining up with in 2026 by the end of this year.