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Key figure set to leave Audi prompting uncertainty about F1 entry

Audi's F1 project faces uncertainty as their chief development officer is set to leave the company

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Audi is facing uncertainty regarding their Formula 1 entry as a key figure is set to leave the company, according to reports.

Audi
Stefano Domenicali, Mohammed ben Sulayem, Markus Duesmann and Oliver Hoffmann. (Credit: Audi/GettyImages)

Audi are set to join Formula One in 2026, the year of the new regulations. The German manufacturer will take over from the Sauber. However, reports have surfaced that Audi’s entry into the sport could be in danger.

As reported by Motorsport.com, the reason for this concern is that following the departure of Mark Duesmann, the former CEO, Oliver Hoffmann is now set to leave Audi. Hoffmann is currently the Chief Development Officer and his contract as CDO was extended last year.

But reports from Bild, the German newspaper, now suggest that Hoffmann may be moving on from the company. Both Duesmann and Hoffmann have been key figures in Audi’s bid to enter Formula 1; they presented Audi’s F1 project at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix.

With the rumours of Hoffman being forced out, many questions have sparked. It is suggested that the reason behind Hoffman’s departure is supposedly due to differing opinions with Gernot Dollner, the current CEO. Furthermore, reports suggest Hoffmann is receiving blame for the recent low sales and the lack of success of the models planned under his direction.

The Audi Supervisory Board will review the issue with Hoffman but the ultimate decision will be taken by the Volkswagen Group’s Supervisory Board at the beginning of March.

No official comment as of yet

Hoffman’s possible departure adds to the speculations that the Audi F1 project is not solid and the plan could change in the future.

In an interview with  Handelsblatt, Dollner sounded fully committed to entering Formula One in 2026. He said:

“There is a clear decision from the Board of Management and the Supervisory Boards of Audi and Volkswagen that Audi will enter Formula 1 in 2026. The plan is in place.”

Even after this declaration from Audi’s CEO, it is still speculated that he is considering on selling the Sauber shares. It would be the perfect way for Audi to get out of the matter without damaging their image. Also, it would be the perfect time to find a buyer as F1 is at its peak of popularity, bringing in many buyers.

However, no comment from Audi has been made on the matter. A spokesperson of Audi has previously told media that “as a matter of principle, we do not comment on personal matters.”

Headline image: AUDI AG (audi-mediacenter.com)

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