Audi intends to confirm early next year its plans to enter to Formula 1, the manufacturer has advised the sport and its governing body, the FIA.
F1 is seeking a new manufacturer to join Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault following the departure of Honda, whose engines will now be prepared by Red Bull. Two Volkswagen Group brands, Audi and Porsche, have shown interest, and the former has now indicated it is close to making a commitment.
In a letter sent on Tuesday Duesmann and Hoffmann told F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and outgoing FIA president Jean Todt they believe the draft regulations offer a fair compromise for newcomers and existing competitors, as well as meeting the objectives agreed for the new power units.
The FIA World Motor Sport Council subsequently confirmed the 2026 power units will retain the existing 1.6-litre V6 engines and increase the amount of electrical energy they can generate, while doing away with the expensive MGU-H. Power unit costs will also be capped for the first time.
The management board and supervisory board of Audi will now decide whether to formally approve its entry into the championship.
In an apparent swipe to rivals Mercedes, Duesmann and Hoffmann opened their the letter – seen by RaceFans – by congratulating Todt on what it regarded as a fair conclusion to this year’s Formula 1 championship. They referred specifically to the final lap, on which Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton to clinch the title following a controversial restart, which Mercedes considered appealing against for four days before backing down.
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2021 F1 season
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89 comments on “Audi tells FIA it intends to confirm F1 entry early next year”
20th December 2021, 15:28
The fools at the FIA and Formula 1 did it again. Change their rules to accommodate a new engine supplier that hasn’t even committed to F1.
20th December 2021, 15:39
They did it for Ford and oh well.
I guess we have an insatiable lust for something new and contempt for familiarity.
20th December 2021, 20:48
As F1 to me is pinnacle of technical development, I see it as a step backwards to remove the MGU-H.
Let’s see how they adjust their ‘most efficient’ catch phrase.
20th December 2021, 22:40
Absolutely agree !
Dumbing down for “cost cutting “ stoopid move FIA !
21st December 2021, 15:54
You say that, but the debacle has been relentless on the new engines since their introduction. The sound, reliability, the cost, the complexity… The complaints have been endless from fans and drivers alike, although the latter less these days.
If F1 is to be the pinnacle of technical development it will require for the combustion engine to be a smaller and smaller part of the generation of power. So some compromises need to be made. F1’s future is more important than the fate of any individual manufacturer. The reality is that Mercedes would likely be the only one protesting this given their success and investment over the last few years. Renault clearly wanted the simpler engines, Ferrari road cars, per their C suite, will never go the full electric route, Honda is going away. So again, what’s the great risk?
20th December 2021, 23:09
Chicken egg … perhaps you’d prefer 2 manufacturers providing all the engines in F1?
Best you leave the thinking to those in positions to do it …
21st December 2021, 8:34
When you commit to harming your current suppliers to get another one in but fail to get said new potential supplier to sign by the deadline you publically set, you played chicken and came up fried egg.
20th December 2021, 15:31
Red Bull – Audi ?
20th December 2021, 16:10
someone or something
20th December 2021, 16:51
Judging by the purported jab at Mercedes (I’d prefer to see the exact wording, because it’s not like this site has never subjected us to mainpulative interpretations before), Red Bull does sound an awful lot more plausible.
Also, there have been rumours linking Red Bull to Audi since at least 2010.
What about McLaren? Well, Jost Capito, who used to work for VW, had a very brief stint at McLaren, at a time when their relationship with Honda was deteriorating rapidly. That brief period is the only time that saw any significant mention of McLaren-Audi rumours.
Also, Red Bull have just lost their engine manufacturer partnership, and negotiated a freeze in engine development in order to be able to step in – very reluctantly – as their own engine manufacturer. And they’ve just clinched a world championship. Doesn’t that look like an infinitely more promising partnership for an engine manufacturer than a partnership with a team that’s been an also-ran for 9 years now?
20th December 2021, 17:05
Why start Red Bull powertrains, employ lots of expensive Mercedes engineers and then have a need for Audi to do the heavy lifting?
20th December 2021, 17:25
Perhaps Audi will take on RBPowertrains. Might make start up costs less and will already be embedded in RB. A similar image to Mercedes F1 and Mercedes Powertrains in Brixworth.
someone or something
20th December 2021, 18:09
Because they didn’t have another choice.
(Okay, they technically did, but it was beneath them to beg for Ferrari or Renault to take them back)
Red Bull’s priorities are, in that order:
1. No Renault!
2. No engine supply from a manufacturer that also supplies a works team
3. Not being an engine manufacturer
They didn’t want to end up building their own engines – and they’ve lobbied hard to get the rules amended so that the impact of their viability as an engine manufacturer gets reduced to a minimum – but it was the bullet they had to bite.
Audi’s arrival might make this a bit redundant, but Red Bull have 4 long seasons ahead of them (2026!), and even with frozen engines, they desperately need the know-how to keep delivering PUs that are on a comparable level to what they’ve enjoyed this season.
20th December 2021, 21:43
someone or something I don’t have the impression that RBR are reluctant at all to become makers of their own pu. I think it is the opposite and they are excited for it. Sure, if F1 and the teams hadn’t agreed to the pu freeze RBR would be in a jam, back to customer status, but by all accounts everyone in F1 was happy to agree to not having to spend more money on pu(s) that have already had many years development, at a time of budget caps and with this pu soon enough becoming redundant. And F1 is happy to keep another maker in F1 by RBR continuing to build and maintain the Honda pu. In a few years if not sooner they’ll be R&D’ing the new for 2026 pu. Perhaps RBR will be an engine supplier themselves.
So no I don’t think RBR is anything but thrilled to be building themselves up to no longer depending on someone else’s pu, and Horner has spoken about actually being more in-house than Mercedes, by having their pu and their chassis developed hand in hand under the same roof, even as opposed to Mercedes making their pu’s in another building a few km away from their chassis headquarters. RBR have their own capable staff, there is some personnel leaving Honda (staying put) and joining RBR, and they have recruited other people from the likes of Mercedes, so I’m quite confident that RBR are doing all the right things not only to keep maintaining the current pus, but in another four years they’ll be well prepared to design and build their own next generation pu.
Horner said he would look at a partnership (eg Audi) if it made sense for them, but the impression I got was that they would no longer be a customer of someone else’s pu, so if Audi gets involved with them it will be by bringing their own knowledge and personnel to RBR’s Powertrain Unit, imho. Oh for all I know Audi could join them and even end up with their name on the car as the RBR pu maker, but going by the language of Horner it would still be a works in-house deal and not a situation of Audi making a pu that RBR slaps into the car. RBR’s future is at their own Powertrain Unit making their whole cars under one roof.
20th December 2021, 21:58
@andyfromsandy the argument is that it would be a nice backdoor way for another powertrain OEM to enter by buying Red Bull’s powertrain division and taking the development from them. Racer.com detailed that thought process in one of their Q&A posts (I think) but the logic is sensible if Mercedes & Ferrari can’t supply them and Renault refuse to after Horner’s criticism of them in the V6 era (and gaining nothing from the 4 years of domination in the early 2010s). I wouldn’t be surprised if Red Bull end up selling it and make a decent profit when they likely do so.
21st December 2021, 8:32
@robbie and @skydiverian – both of you seem to be working under an erroneous assumption, which is that Red Bull owns the intellectual property rights for Honda’s power unit.
That is not the case – Honda has given Red Bull licencing rights to the intellectual property that they need for the power unit to be produced under licence, but those IP rights still reside with Honda, not Red Bull. Horner can say what he wants, but if Honda doesn’t consent to another team having access to their IP, he can forget about dreams of Red Bull being a power unit supplier.
Similarly, the fact that Honda is only licencing, not selling, the IP rights to Red Bull raises the question of whether they can actually undertake any research and development that ends up incorporating Honda’s IP into the final product.
I know that there have been those talking excitedly about Red Bull selling that division on to another manufacturer as the basis for entry – but it’s based on the erroneous assumption that they have a power unit design to sell, which they don’t.
21st December 2021, 11:09
As far back as post race Brazil, Joe Saward was reporting that discussions were taking place between not only Audi and Mclaren F1, but also BMW and Mclaren Automotive
21st December 2021, 16:41
anon I haven’t claimed, nor recall reading Horner speak of selling pu’s to customers, but I do speculate that by 2026 they may be capable of doing so, as my understanding is they will be independent pu makers by then, of the next gen pu. I take your point about Honda still owning the IP to the current PU. I also don’t envision them selling their Powertrain Unit so I am not one who has been ‘talking excitedly’ about that. I merely see RBR already having the resources and infrastructure developing and growing as we speak such that they will be able to carry the ball with the current pu until the next pu formula comes up, by which time they will be an independent designer and manufacturer of their own pu, and therefore at which point they could potentially, imho, be a supplier to a customer team, if that were to make sense to them and to any potential customers. With time needed to R&D the new pu format for 2026, I see RBR by 2024 well capable with staff and resources of starting that process ahead of 2026 in lockstep with the other pu makers in F1, towards making their own pu hand in hand with what I presume will also be a next gen 2026 car.
20th December 2021, 19:25
Audi or Porsche to buy Mercedes?
21st December 2021, 8:30
I think Hell will freeze over before that happens there is no love between them.
21st December 2021, 13:06
@aapje, clearly Red Bull racing.
It is a done deal. Look at the racing numbers in the background of the picture. 33 and 11, the numbers of Max and Checo.
20th December 2021, 15:33
Nice scoop there!
20th December 2021, 15:39
That’s good news! I wonder if they will go for a works team or if they’d just supply Red Bull!
20th December 2021, 16:43
@afonic Of course I couldn’t possibly know the answer to that but I will suggest that they will either be a works team or a supplier to someone other than Red Bull. I say that based on what Horner has said about their new Powertrain Unit where they will be capable of maintaining the currently frozen pu’s through 2025, and where they plan on being totally independent after that and capable of building and developing the next gen of F1 pu on their own, in-house.
Horner didn’t entirely discount taking on a partner for 2026 if it makes sense to do so, but I think they would prefer not to, and they will likely never again be a customer for PUs, and so imho if they did take Audi in it would be Audi personnel and expertise setting up and merging at RBR’s Powertrain Unit with their existing personnel (some of their own, some from Honda who have joined RBR, and some from Mercedes who they have poached) so that everything can be done under one roof.
20th December 2021, 17:11
F1 need more suppliers. I would hope F1 will be able to insist all engine suppliers need to be prepared to supply any team if required and not have single team tie-ups.
Armchair Expert (@armchairexpert)
20th December 2021, 15:42
Audi, the pillar of motorsport integrity. Schieb ihn raus, Mick!
someone or something
20th December 2021, 16:26
You’re not wrong, but in terms of terrible unsporting behaviour, Audi and Mercedes both reign(ed) supreme in the DTM.
20th December 2021, 15:42
Already starting with politics 4 years before their entry.
The night of longs knives is suddenly revealing more and more participants.
20th December 2021, 16:22
Agreed. What a weird way to begin such a letter.
20th December 2021, 16:54
A weird way is to congratulate on the successful season? Perception in UK differs from the rest of the world. If you only listen to your own your impression may be that we all agree and see things from Hamilton’s perspective. All that’s OK and easy to understand, but Audi is not British.
20th December 2021, 17:25
You simply congratulate on a successful championship, talking about fairness not necessary and it has nothing to do with seeing things from Hamilton’s perspective. It is a potential participant sucking up to the regulators perhap.
I don’t get why everything has to be about Hamilton and Verstappen and it is an immature way of relating with the sport.
20th December 2021, 19:15
Neither is Mercedes…
20th December 2021, 22:46
If you read these forums you should know that the perception is not solely British. That said, the fact that it may be British biased should hardly be a shock. If Max threw grenades at Lewis car, there would still be more British complaints, but that would hardly invalidate the complaints.
20th December 2021, 19:26
@uzsjgb That’s what I was thinking
someone or something
20th December 2021, 16:29
Quick reality check: Do you have any idea how insane this makes you sound?
20th December 2021, 17:54
Perhaps you’ve come across a certain Julius Caeser in your history books
someone or something
20th December 2021, 18:19
Yes, I’ve read a book or two he wrote before becoming a knife holder.
I’ve also come across a certain chap named Ernst Röhm.
The thing is, there is a gulf between:
a) knowing about the term ‘Night of the Long Knives’ and its metaphorical use, and on the other hand
b) alleging that there was a conspiracy to cost Hamilton the title, and
c) that Audi was a part of it
Sanity ends with a (according to most), but it most definitely ends before c.
20th December 2021, 18:50
There is also something as the conspiracy of silence.
All this doesn’t mean people sat down to plan this, but that they are happy about the outcome.
Anyways you read too far into a simple statement.
Lets look at it this way. The FIA need more motor companies, they can’t attract these companies if they are afraid one company keeps winning all the time.
The potential new entrant will want a guarantee that they can achieve some reasonable level of success based on their investment. Why throw in lots of money and Mercedes just keeps winning.
The past few years had become almost so predictable -even if only at the end of the year – and I too wanted something different and exciting.
Liberty want something new.
Netflix want some excitement.
The FIA wants to give those it is courting hope.
The teams competing kind of want a new feeling.
The Dutch fans have become a new marketing sector in F1.
All of the above and more puts pressure on individuals running the business.
It doesn’t in anyway imply people sat down and planned anything because the word conspiracy was input by you and not me.
It doesn’t mean it is about Hamilton, it seems it is about Mercedes.
Research the comments Jost of Williams made about the Jeddah steward decisions it seems very similar to the Audi statement.
By the way, I’m writing this with a clear head and sipping some tea. I’m not the least bothered about the outcome. I am more interested in the process. In mathematics there are steps to getting solutions to problems. You just don’t get answers without following some steps, even if you know the answer you must back it up with a proof.
The FIA needs to change the way it does some things. They apply a lot of advanced technologies in many areas of the sport or recently show, then leave critical decisions to primitive rational such as ” I didn’t see it”.
Please don’t take this too seriously no intention to slight anyone just finding it odd the statement of a potential new entrant.
someone or something
20th December 2021, 22:48
20th December 2021, 15:46
I do hope they follow through with this! If so, we could have some exciting times in store.
20th December 2021, 15:58
Finally some positive news! Hopefully this opens the door for 1 or 2 more as well. The more the merrier.
20th December 2021, 16:45
@canadianjosh Agreed. Some more evidence that F1 is taking some good measures for the future.
20th December 2021, 16:19
I need the pettiness of Audi in F1. That piece of trolling is epic.
20th December 2021, 16:19
I need the pettiness of Audi in F1. That level of mischief is epic.
Luke S (@joeypropane)
20th December 2021, 16:32
I wonder if this will provoke BMW to rejoining at some point? Seems like it’ll be quite a lot of “das Gesicht verlieren” if they are the only ones of the “big 3” in Germany to not be participating at the pinnacle of motorsport…
20th December 2021, 19:28
Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
20th December 2021, 16:47
I already like them
20th December 2021, 17:01
My new year’s resolution is not to procrastinate!
20th December 2021, 17:24
Audi coming in and immediately taking a swipe at Mercedes is an interesting move. Guess they’re not friendly?
Wonder how they’ll join. Branding the former Honda unit for Red Bull or taking over the engine supply? Taking a large share of Williams would be a good option too.
21st December 2021, 8:34
No just read DTM from several years ago…
20th December 2021, 17:31
To be honest I really don’t understand why Audi would join F1.
It costs a lot of money that Audi should be spending on EV transformation. For example by 2026, all new company cars in Belgium (more than half of new cars!) have to be zero emission. I know Belgium is small, but it is a trend and other countries are even further.
And what is there to gain? Knowing how to make better ICE engine? Not really usable or too expensive for road-going cars apparently since it is already 7 years since the new engines are there. Non-F1 manufacturers seem to be making more plugin hybrids than Honda, Renault or Mercedes. So participating in F1 doesn’t seem to give an edge.
Learning how to use carbon zero fuels? I seriously doubt this is the future for new cars (maybe for oldtimers). It will be way more expensive than EV’s for Total Cost of Ownership. And F1 participation is not needed for that.
So marketing? Seems very expensive and would be a better fit for Porsche.
20th December 2021, 18:48
There is no ‘zero’ emission cars! As long as electricity is produced by likes of Neurath Power Station zero emission cars exist only in heads of people mislead by prevailing narrative being in total discord with the reality.
20th December 2021, 22:56
Firstly, there ARE zero emission cars. Your perspective may be a valid one, but it does not invalidate the concept of zero emission cars.
Secondly, even within your own narrative I do not get your point. Electricity is continuing to be generated by increasing amounts of renewable energy. I am unsure anyone expects this to effect a wholesale change overnight, but heading in the right direction is a positive isn’t it?
21st December 2021, 9:12
Zero emission doesn’t necessarily mean all-electric power-trains. Audi has been investing heavily in renewable synthetic fuels which can be used in existing gasoline or diesel engines. I believe F1 is going in this direction too, so it would be a pretty good match in marketing terms. ICEs are not going away for a long, long time, despite the pipe-dreams of certain governments.
21st December 2021, 11:15
Everything I read about renewable fuels indicates they require more energy to make than they can deliver to the car.
And then it is burned in an ICE engine that loses 50 to 70% of the energy in heat that is utterly wasted. F1 will even drop the MGU-H!?
People complain that an EV seems to be less efficient at high speed or in cold weather. This is actually true, but the biggest difference with an ICE engine is that it has an efficiency of around 90% vs road going ICE cars of 40%. The extra energy needed for high speed or cold weather is less noticable when ICE is already wasting 60% in heat.
21st December 2021, 14:02
Yes, indeed – they require huge amounts of energy to create (at least with the current state of technology). The assumption (and it’s a big one) is that they will be synthesized with low or zero emission power sources such as nuclear or solar.
Obviously the attraction is they are a drop-in replacement for dino fuels, especially in the second and third world where buying millions of new shiny electric cars just isn’t an option.
20th December 2021, 17:34
A strict watch on the fuel consumption .
20th December 2021, 17:40
Red Bull Quatro
Red Andy (@red-andy)
20th December 2021, 18:01
Hang on. I thought no new manufacturers would want to go near F1 in the future due to the result of the Abu Dhabi GP? As it’s not a sport anymore, or something like that.
20th December 2021, 19:18
I’d wait until they actually submit a firm entry application before crowing Andy. I’m sure this isn’t the first time they’ve talked in future tense.
20th December 2021, 19:43
@red-andy as others have noted, they’ll believe it when a VW Group entry actually turns up on the grid, given that they have previously made this sort of promise and then walked away from the sport.
In 2012, Wolfgang Durheimer, who was serving as the head of the VW Group’s motorsport division at the time, submitted a similar letter of intent and also put forward a proposal to the board of VW for them to enter Formula 1. The regulations were rewritten to accommodate the VW Group’s requests – it’s why the original proposal was for four cylinder engines – but, having done that, the VW walked out of the discussions and the formal vote by the board of directors was deferred indefinitely, before eventually