Formula 1 will officially have another big player joining its ranks, as Audi has announced that it will compete in the sport from 2026. The brand has also given us a glimpse into what its future racing car could look like with a mock-up 2022 specification F1 car wrapped in a livery reminiscent of Ken Block’s Audi S1 Hoonitron.
Why 2026? This is when the FIA plans to introduce a series of new rules around the vehicle’s powertrains. The regulation changes include plans to abandon the complex motor generator unit from the hybrid and turbocharged V6 powertrains. Audi has also announced that it will develop its own power unit near its Ingolstadt headquarters, making it the first F1 powertrain to be developed in Germany in over ten years.
Another major factor of the 2026 rule changes includes a greater focus on power generated by the electric side of the hybrid powertrain. It’s very possible that the electric motor could produce as much power as the 1.6-litre turbocharged engines, which will be required to run on sustainable fuel. This was a big selling point for Audi and the Volkswagen Group as the companies shift towards sustainability.
CEO of Audi Markus Deusmann said, “Motorsport is an integral part of Audi’s DNA. Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a highly challenging development laboratory. The combination of high performance and competition is always a driver of innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, now is the right time for us to get involved. After all, Formula 1 and Audi both pursue clear sustainability goals.”
Porsche is rumoured to be joining the top flight of motorsport; it may be negotiating an alliance with the Red Bull Racing team ahead of 2026. Rumours suggest that the team could race under the name Red Bull-Porsche, but there’s been no official word on that partnership as of yet.
The new engine rules for 2026 have not yet been fully defined, but the general architecture of the engines will still be based on the current generation of 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid units.
The hybrid part of the powertrains will be simplified in 2026 to remove the MGU-H; a complex system that uses the turbocharger to generate electricity. As of 2026, the engines will also have to run on 100 per cent sustainable synthetic fuel, and hybrid power will increase to around 50 per cent of total output.
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