It is no secret that Audi will only increase its influence over Sauber in the next few years. Today’s announcement from Sauber confirms an important step (Audi acquiring a minority stake) in this process.
The Swiss-based team finds itself in the transition process as Audi prepares to join Formula 1 as an engine manufacturer for the 2026 season.
Audi’s intentions to acquire a stake in the Sauber Group were established last year, so this news is simply one of many steps for this Swiss-German partnership to reach its final form.
Sauber released this statement earlier today:
“The Sauber Group is pleased to announce that, as per the plans outlined in October last year, Audi acquired a minority stake in the Sauber Group in January 2023. This is an important milestone on the way to Audi’s entry in Formula One, scheduled for 2026, for which the Sauber Group will be the German brand’s strategic partner.”
Audi has been outspoken about its plans and ambitions in Formula 1, with CEO Adam Baker outlining at the start of the year that the team intends to sign a development driver before the end of 2023.
Considering the investment required to compete in F1 – especially for a team looking to manufacture its engines – it is logical that they are acting with haste.
However, Sauber will still have significant independence and autonomy in the next few years until Audi fully enters the sport.
Alfa Romeo’s partnership with Sauber expires at the end of 2023, so the Swiss team will have a two-year waiting period before officially entering Formula 1 as Audi.
The team’s recent sponsorship announcement with Stake demonstrates the proactive steps being taken – from a financial perspective – to keep Sauber ticking along for the next couple of seasons.
Sauber will also push to hit the budget cap before 2026 to lay the necessary foundations for Audi’s arrival.