This weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix is rumoured to be the place where Audi will announce their new partnership with Sauber, with the German’s set to become an engine supplier for the Swiss team, according to Motorsport.com.
After months of rumours that Audi would be merging with a current team in Formula 1, it looks highly likely that the ongoing rumours will finally become fact, with many believing that the announcement could come as soon as this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
Audi and Porsche, who are both part of the Volkswagen group, are known to be joining the sport from 2026; it was just left to be seen where and in what capacity.
It’s believed that Audi and Sauber’s partnership will see the German manufacturer produce the power units, with Sauber developing the chassis.
Sauber weren’t Audi’s initial choice for a partnership, with the German’s having originally attempted to join the McLaren F1 Team.
Audi at first wanted to take over a share of McLaren, after the current DTM boss and former McLaren driver Gerhard Berger, put the duo in contact.
“I established the contact with McLaren,” said the DTM boss.
“McLaren would have been a candidate as a partner for Audi in Formula 1.”
Nothing materialised between the two in the end, which left Audi still looking for a partner.
After analysing Williams Racing and the Aston Martin F1 Team, as well as Sauber, they decided the Swiss outfit would be the strongest candidate for them.
Sauber have been linked to a takeover fairly recently, after owner Finn Rausing rejected an offer from Michael Andretti to sell the team for €350 million at the end of 2021.
Rausing reportedly wanted €250 million more than offered by Andretti, as well as assurances that the Sauber name and team will continue to be used.
As a result, Andretti walked away after not being able to guarantee or accept Rausing’s demands.
Audi will be very much to Rausing’s liking, with the German’s prepared to pay more than Andretti, but for a smaller share in the team.
It could also see Sauber become a factory team once again, just as they were during their partnership with BMW from 2006-2009.
The ties between Audi and Sauber are interestingly already close, with Audi’s current CEO Markus Duesmann having been head of development of the BMW-Sauber team from 2007-2009, meaning a relationship between the two has already been established.
The deal could start potentially as soon as 2024, with Sauber’s deal with Alfa Romeo currently only being contracted until the end of 2023.