It won't set up a whole team by itself, instead offering its powertrain to established teams.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
In mid-August, the World Motor Sport Council approved new Formula 1 regulations for 2026, the most notable of which is a new engine design that is meant to bring newcomers into the sport. It didn't take long before a major automaker announced its intention to dive into the world of F1.
Audi on Friday announced that it will join Formula 1 in 2026. It will do so as an engine supplier, which means it will build the power units for established teams. Audi has not yet announced any partners; rumors have pointed to Sauber (currently operating as Alfa Romeo), but Audi said in its release that teammate decisions should be made by the end of the year.
Audi will manufacture its power unit down the road from the company's headquarters in Ingolstadt, making it the first time in over 10 years that a Formula 1 powertrain will be manufactured in Germany. The automaker said that it already has test benches for engines, electric motors and batteries, and it hopes to be fully stocked with personnel and additional infrastructure by year's end. Operations will be handled by a separate subsidiary under Audi Sport. In order to give this program its full attention, Audi will discontinue its World Endurance Championship LMDh prototype program.
Audi Dives Into New Territory With Formula 1 Announcement
F1's new engine regulations make it a fair bit easier to join the sport. The complex heat-based recuperation system (MGU-H, for the F1 nerds out there) will be ditched in favor of a larger, more powerful regenerative braking system, which will feed energy into a battery that will power a motor nearly as powerful as the internal-combustion engine to which it's mated. The gas-engine half of the powertrain will run on sustainable fuels, too.
Audi won't be the only Volkswagen Group member getting in on the F1 fun. It's believed that Porsche was also waiting for F1's 2026 regulations to debut before announcing its own entry into the sport. Rumor has it that Porsche may take Honda's spot as Red Bull's engine supplier, but nothing official has been announced just yet.