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Inside Audi’s ‘realistic’ goal to fight at the front of the F1 grid

The German manufacturer will join the grid in 2026

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Audi continues to assert itself as a team to be reckoned with as Audi Formula Racing CEO Adam Baker sheds light on the manufacturer’s F1 ambitions.

Adam Baker, CEO Audi Formula Racing GmbH
Baker has years of experience in motorsports, having previously worked for Minardi and as Safety Director for the FIA. (Image credit: El Confidencial)

In a recent interview with PlanetF1, Adam Baker shared insight on Audi’s F1 ambitions and its partnership with Sauber.

The German manufacturer is on course to join the Formula 1 grid in 2026, when the new engine regulations come into effect.

Audi isn’t in the F1 challenge alone. Partnering up with Sauber, Audi will work as a power unit supplier. Through this ‘strategic partnership’, Audi will manufacture the Power Unit at its Motorsport Competence Centre in Neuburg/Donau. Sauber, meanwhile, will be responsible for the development of the car in its factory in Hinwil, Switzerland. 

For Audi, the change in regulations marks the perfect time for it to join the grid. “Previously, manufacturers have typically entered during an existing regulation cycle, meaning that they are at somewhat of a disadvantage to existing competitors,” explained Baker.

Whilst the changes will be a “huge challenge”, they also present a “big opportunity for newcomers”, says Baker.

Ambitious but not fanciful

Audi is no stranger to motorsports success. The manufacturer has participated in both the World Rally Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans — having won the latter a remarkable 13 times.

Naturally, hopes for success are high. However, Audi remains grounded in its ambition. “Anyone who’s passionate about racing would say we want to be competitive in the first year,” said Baker. “But obviously, we recognise the magnitude of the challenge we have in front of us.” He added: 

“Our intent is to be able to fight at the front within three years, which we think is realistic.”

The substantial period of time running up to Audi’s entry to the sport might be beneficial for the team. Combined with its partnership with Sauber, Audi seems well-prepared to compete in F1.

Key to this partnership is ensuring that both parties work well together. This is something that Adam Baker is keen to achieve. “We’re developing the power unit and the car concept really together as one cohesive technical team,” Baker said. “That’s extremely important for us. We want to achieve that optimum works type development environment where it is a true partnership.”

The German manufacturer seems to exude confidence. It is conscious of the significant challenges it faces, but equally, it is aware of the opportunities available to it. As Baker says: “If you innovate in the right areas, you can benefit.” 

Featured Image Credit: Autosport

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