Audi set ambitious ‘up front in F1’ goal

Audi is planning to be at the front of F1 in year three of its project

Audi is planning to be at the front of F1 in year three of its project

Audi Racing CEO Adam Baker has boldly declared it is the manufacturer’s intention to be “up front” in F1 in just its third year.

The introduction of new power unit regulations in 2026 has lured Audi into Formula 1. The German giant reached an agreement with Sauber last year to become the Swiss-based operation’s works team.

Although it is another three years before Audi graces the sport, the project is firmly underway, with a new plant in Neuberg currently under construction, whilst 240 staff have so far been recruited.

Despite the timeline, the feeling is Audi does not have enough time to be competitive by 2026.

Disputing the suggestion, Melburnian Baker told Bild: “We definitely won’t get bored.

“Developing a Formula 1 hybrid drive is one of the greatest challenges that an engineer and technician can face.

“The road is long and complex, so it was all the more important that we were able to start the process immediately when the engine regulations were approved last summer.

“It becomes more difficult with the technical regulations for the chassis.”

Audi ‘groping in the dark’ in early F1 phase

Explaining the issue, Baker added: “We like to measure the performance of the power unit with lap times in the simulator. The overall vehicle concept, consisting of chassis and power unit is decisive for this.

“Unfortunately, we are still groping in the dark until the first draft is available in the summer and the final version by the FIA in mid-2024. But there are enough other things to do until then.”

Despite Audi’s success in sportscars, notably winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans 13 times, Baker recognises there is “a lack of knowledge when it comes to developing a Formula 1 powertrain”.

Regardless of the constraints being imposed upon Audi, Baker is confident of what can be achieved in a short space of time and where the manufacturer will be in 2028.

“We have to catch up,” added Baker. “But we have enough time and a super-experienced team on board for that.

“I’m just thinking of the very successful DTM days, our involvement in Formula E, or our Le Mans era.

“Nevertheless, in the first season, it will be about having the highest possible level of reliability.”

Beyond that, Baker added: “We always want to improve. Our goal is to be up front in the third year.

“For that, we need a top system. We want to show what ‘Made in Germany’ stands for – a reliable power unit at the highest level.”

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