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The move towards the use of sustainable fuels in Formula 1 and the introduction of a cost cap for each team in 2023 were also cited as key motivations for Audi to join the sport. 

Audi said that there are already F1 powertrain test benches in place at its Neuburg development centre and that it has started to make preparations “in terms of personnel, buildings and technical infrastructure”.

It has also formed a new company specifically dedicated to Formula 1 powertrain development, wholly owned by its motorsport arm, Audi Sport. 

Adam Baker, an Audi recruit from F1 governing body the FIA, will lead that new company as CEO of Audi’s Formula 1 project. 

Porsche, however, has yet to solidify its own plans for a Formula 1 entry, abandoning plans for a 50/50 partnership with Red Bull Racing in September.

The announcement of Audi’s entry was welcomed by F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali. He said: “I’m delighted to welcome Audi to Formula 1, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator.

“This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow. It’s 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.”

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the FIA and a former rally driver, described Audi’s entry into F1 as a “milestone”. “First of all, I drove Audis in my career. That was an amazing experience to drive four-wheel drive on the gravel,” he said. “This journey hasn’t been an idea that just came now. To be here, this is where the fruits come.

“It’s definitely going to change a lot. If we didn’t change the PU [power unit regulations] we wouldn’t have given the opportunity for new teams to come. There is no way a big manufacturer would come as a PU supplier if they didn’t stand a chance. They would be humiliated.”

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