Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer, has unveiled its Formula 1 project in China for the first time at Auto Shanghai 2023. From April 18 to 27, visitors can witness the Audi Launch Livery F1 show car as a central element of the brand’s presence at the event. Markus Duesmann, the Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, provided insight into the current progress of the project during the press conference.
Under the motto “F1 Power made in Germany,” Audi is getting ready to enter the top class of motorsport. Starting from 2026, the company will compete in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship with its own factory team and a power unit developed in Germany. According to Duesmann, motorsport is an essential part of Audi’s DNA, and their Formula 1 commitment will strengthen the company’s sporting focus. He also emphasized that the racing series is increasingly gaining popularity among young target groups and in their most important sales market, China. The Chinese Grand Prix has not been able to take place for the fourth consecutive time due to the pandemic, making it all the more exciting for Chinese Formula 1 fans to get a preview of Audi’s future involvement in the top class of motorsport.
Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at AUDI AG, reported that the Audi Formula 1 project has been taking off in recent months. In the ongoing concept phase of the power unit, the foundation of the drivetrain for 2026 is being laid. He added that the company attaches great importance to detail work, such as materials or manufacturing technologies, and focuses on topics such as the energy management of the hybrid drivetrain. These approaches will advance both Formula 1 and the mobility of the future, as efficiency is a key success factor for both.
A single-cylinder engine has been tested since the end of 2022, providing valuable insights into the development, test bench setup, and validation of the measuring instruments. The first full hybrid drivetrain unit, consisting of the combustion engine, electric motor, battery, and electronic control unit, is scheduled to run on the test bench before the end of this year and will form the basis for the future vehicle concept. The dynamic development simulator in Neuburg will be brought up to Formula 1 standards and will further advance the development of the Audi power unit.
At the facility in Neuburg a.d. Donau, the build-up of the team under the umbrella of the specially founded Audi Formula Racing GmbH is in full swing. More than 260 specialists are already on board, and the hiring of staff should be completed by the end of the year, with the team consisting of over 300 employees. The core of the development team comprises experienced Audi Sport and Audi employees with many years of diverse expertise in electric motorsport. They are joined by specialists with Formula 1 expertise who have been sourced externally and will strengthen the team in a targeted manner.
The Competence Center Motorsport in Neuburg will be expanded for the Formula 1 project, and from the second half of the year, additional test rigs for power unit development will be installed in a new building with a floor area of around 3,000 square meters. A modular design will allow the state-of-the-art test rigs to be put into operation even before the building is fully completed in early 2024. The electricity and heat supply in Neuburg is already CO₂-neutral, as the facility is supplied with district heating from industrial waste heat and green electricity from hydroelectric power plants. The FIA has awarded the facility its three-star environmental seal of approval, the highest distinction for environmental conservation and sustainability in motorsports.