Sauber is set to become an Audi-works F1 team 2026 season onwards. However, its current sponsorship deal with Alfa Romeo is set to conclude after the 2023 season.
After confirming its F1 entry in August, Audi has now announced that it plans to acquire a stake in the Sauber Group. As a result, Sauber is set to become Audi's strategic partner in F1 and the partnership will see the traditional Swiss racing team competing as the Audi factory team from 2026 onwards. While the power unit will be created at Audi’s Motorsport Competence Center in Neuburg an der Donau, Sauber will develop and manufacture the race car at its site in Hinwil, Switzerland. Sauber will also take charge of planning and executing the race operations.
As for the development of the power unit, which consists of an electric motor, battery, control systems and a combustion engine, it is already in full swing at the Neuberg facility. Audi claims more than 120 employees are already working on the project. Per the current timetable, the first tests with the power unit developed for the 2026 regulations in a Formula 1 test car are planned for 2025.
But what does this mean for Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen, Sauber's Motorsport AG's current F1 nameplate? Well, the team will likely revert to its Sauber identity for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, after their ongoing Alfa sponsorship deal concludes. The team is expected to compete with Ferrari power units for those interim seasons.