Audi's preparations to enter Formula One in 2026 are picking up speed and a prototype power unit will run on the test bench before the end of the year, the German manufacturer said.
The Volkswagen-owned brand announced last October that it was taking a stake in the Sauber Group, whose Swiss-based team are competing this season as Alfa Romeo with Ferrari engines.
Formula One will have a new power unit from 2026, with the focus on sustainability and a more cost-efficient future, when Sauber will become the factory Audi team.
Speaking at a presentation in Shanghai, Audi board member Oliver Hoffmann said the Formula One project had "really taken off in recent months."
The choice of Shanghai for the Formula One team’s public debut is strategic, Audi has said. China is the the VW Group brand’s biggest market, and at the same time has a huge base of Formula One fans, the automaker said.
"We are convinced that our Formula 1 commitment will strengthen Audi’s sporting focus,” CEO Markus Duesmann said in a news release on Tuesday. The racing series is continuously increasing its global reach, especially among young target groups and in our most important sales market: China.”
More than 260 specialists were already working at the powertrain facility in Neuburg an der Donau, near the carmaker's headquarters at Ingolstadt, with the core of the development team coming from existing Audi staff.
"They are joined by specialists with Formula One expertise who have been sourced externally and will strengthen the team in a targeted manner," Audi said.
"By the end of the year, the hiring of staff should be completed, and the team will consist of more than 300 employees."