The major change in the engine regulations in 2026 will come with another change to the sport, as Audi join the grid as they complete their takeover of Sauber, which was announced earlier this year.
The team have chosen 2026 as their target year to join the grid because they plan to provide their own power unit, and the change in rules provide the perfect window of opportunity.
Audi’s Competence Centre Motorsport, which opened its doors in 2014, will be expanding to cater for the car manufacturer’s F1 project, having already helped Audi to success in the Dakar Rally and Formula E.
The Neuburg based facility is set to complete its extension in 2024, and Oliver Hoffman, Audi’s board member for technical development has provided an update on the progress of the new building, known as F7.2.
“With the Competence Centre Motorsport, we have an ideal base for our Formula 1 project,” explained Hoffman.
“Audi Neuburg was designed from the outset to be able to tackle the most demanding motorsport projects. This foresight is paying off.
“With the existing facilities, we were able to immediately begin with the Formula 1 project.
“The expansion will create the necessary infrastructure for the development of our F1 power unit for the long term. With the building extension and the installation of state-of-the-art benches, we are giving our development team the best possible conditions to be successful in the top class of motorsport.”
Audi will need to assemble a race day team, consisting of a team principal and two drivers, and rumours have suggested that the team could play a major role in reviving the careers of certain individuals.
Mattia Binotto, who has recently resigned from Ferrari following a disappointing campaign, is rumoured to already be in talks to become the Audi boss, while Mick Schumacher is reportedly a target for the team as they look to secure a German driver for their debut season.
Valtteri Bottas has expressed his interest in remaining with Alfa Romeo until 2026, and then transitioning into an Audi driver, as he believes that his experience could be vital to the new team on the grid, and give him one final chance to challenge for race wins before he calls time on his career.
Audi have claimed that they plan to challenge for podiums in their debut season, aiming to be a regular race winner within three years of being in Formula 1, such is their belief in their ability to provide a strong powertrain.