Audi sign first driver for Formula 1 team

Neel Jani is bringing experience to Audi’s Formula 1 project, as they prepare to join the grid.

Audi has made an exciting announcement, revealing that Neel Jani will join their team as a simulator driver to contribute to the development of their Formula 1 power units. 

The German automotive giant is set to make its debut on the F1 grid in 2026, aligning with the introduction of new engine regulations in the sport. 

With Audi joining the ranks of Mercedes and Ferrari as power unit producers in Formula 1, the prospect of their involvement is certainly promising, and the hiring of Neel Jani represents the latest step in their journey.

Jani, who has previously served as a test and reserve driver for Red Bull, bringing his expertise to their F1 simulator, has also achieved remarkable success in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). 

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His extensive experience and knowledge make him a valuable asset for Audi to tap into during their Formula 1 endeavour.

Expressing his excitement about joining Audi, Jani stated: “I am delighted to accompany Audi on their way into Formula 1. 

“It is both an honour and a great responsibility to be involved in a project of this magnitude at an early stage. 

“I am sure that with my experience from Formula 1 and LMP projects, I can forge good links between theory and practice.”

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Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of Audi, highlighted the significance of simulation in their Formula 1 project, stated: “Just like in production development, simulation plays a major role in our Formula 1 project. 

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“Our simulator is an important tool for power unit development. It requires a development driver who, in addition to a grasp of technology, brings versatile experience to the project, especially in terms of energy management in racing conditions.”

Adam Baker, CEO of Audi Formula Racing, emphasised the team’s current focus on fundamental concept questions that are highly relevant to performance. 

While digital methods play a crucial role in evaluating various technical solutions, Baker stressed the importance of combining know-how, experience, and practical development to draw accurate conclusions from simulations.