Audi is to make its debut in Formula 1 in 2026.
Markus Duesmann, chairman of the Audi board, said on Friday that the German car company had officially registered as a power-unit manufacturer in F1.
Audi has not yet revealed whether it will run its own team, as is expected, or simply supply engines.
“Racing is in the DNA of Audi. If you think about Le Mans, DTM and Formula E, we have always been very active and very successful,” Duesmann said.
“We want to continue this success story in F1.”
Duesmann added the decision had been made because of new rules that feature an increased electrical component in engines and fully sustainable fuels.
Audi said it would announce the team with which they will be joining forces by the end of the year.
It is expected to take a controlling interest in Swiss-based Sauber, currently racing as Alfa Romeo, and enter as a full manufacturer in the manner of Ferrari and Mercedes.
F1 president Stefano Domenicali said: “This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow.
“It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably-fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector. We are all looking forward to seeing the Audi logo on the grid and will be hearing further details from them on their plans in due course.”
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem described the decision as “a milestone”.
Duesmann said the increased proportion of power from the hybrid part of the engine matched with Audi’s decision to move towards being a fully electric manufacturer.
He added that F1’s budget cap, first introduced in 2021, “makes it very attractive” and that F1’s decision to go carbon neutral by 2030 was also key.
In 2026, F1 will continue with 1.6-litre turbo hybrid engines but will make significant changes from those used since 2014.
The hybrid element will supply more than 50% of the overall power, the complicated MGU-H – which recovers energy from the turbo – will be abandoned and sustainable, synthetic fuels will used. These emit only the carbon taken out of the atmosphere to make them.
Another VW brand, Porsche, is also expected to enter F1 in 2026 as an engine partner to Red Bull.
Duesmann would not confirm that, but said that the two operations would be entirely separate, with Audi’s operation in Germany and Porsche’s in the UK if it entered.