Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, reckons that Audi will feel the financial effects of making their engines in a different country to the chassis.
Audi will be entering Formula 1 at the beginning of 2026, purchasing the Sauber Group, who have been running their team since 1993.
Their current relationship with Alfa Romeo will end ahead of the 2024 season, at which point the German car maker is set to start purchasing shares.
They will then complete a full takeover of the team in 2026, and Sauber will no longer be the entity driving the operation.
Audi will continue to use the Swiss team’s base in Hinwil to construct the cars themselves, but they need facilities to make engines, as they will be a works team.
They will therefore use their factory in Neuburg an der Donau, just west of the company’s main headquarters in Ingolstadt.
It does mean that they will not have to spend money on a new building, but it also means travelling to Germany from Switzerland, or vice versa, to fit the engine in the car.
This would not be such an issue for them under the current regulations, as there is only a limit on engine testing time, not the money spent working on the power units.
There are plans for manufacturers to be given a budget limit in which to work, but there is a way around that.
Travelling to another country to fit the engine would naturally be more expensive than using the same site to make both the engine and the chassis, so a possible solution for Audi is to only fit the power unit when they arrive at races and tests.
Generally though, Wolff sees making engines in Germany as more of a hindrance than making everything in one country, which is what Mercedes, Ferrari and Alpine do, and it is also what Red Bull are set to do from 2026.
“The biggest competition is, and was, with Red Bull because they are just around the corner,” he told Motorsport.com.
“There is a bigger barrier of switching power unit manufacturers when it is about going to Germany, so that definitely is not something that worries me the most.
“And the cost cap is just about to come into the power unit area as well, so that is going to limit the amount of silly money that is going to be spent, which is important.”
The Austrian stated that teams poaching engineers from elsewhere in the paddock is “normal,” but confirmed that Audi have not yet swooped in for any Mercedes employees.