Toto Wolff has Audi “on his radar” for 2026 Method 1 success : PlanetF1

Mercedes staff boss Toto Wolff has mentioned he’s cautious of Audi’s competitiveness proper from the second they’ll enter Method 1 in 2026.

Having beforehand introduced their intent to reach in Method 1 in 2026, the character of Audi’s entry has now been made clear because the German producer revealed a partnership with Sauber Motorsport – the staff at the moment working the Alfa Romeo F1 entry.

The identical day Audi introduced their F1 entry, Alfa Romeo confirmed their partnership with Sauber would come to a detailed on the finish of 2023 – leaving little doubt Audi and Sauber had been set to pair up.

Formal affirmation of that deal has now come, with Sauber working as Audi’s official manufacturing unit entry from 2026 onwards. They are going to proceed as Alfa Romeo till the top of subsequent 12 months earlier than reverting to Sauber, with Ferrari energy items, till the top of 2025.

Toto Wolff “gained’t underestimate the VW Group”

Wolff, who additionally heads up Mercedes’ motorsport programme, has earmarked Audi to do effectively and hit the bottom working in 2026 – even when the duty forward seems to be big.

“I might by no means underestimate the VW Group (guardian firm of Audi),” mentioned Wolff, quoted by Motorsport-Complete.

“I’ve them completely on the radar. They’re one of many groups that may very well be profitable in 2026.”

Audi and Mercedes are long-time rivals on the home entrance resulting from their battles within the DTM sequence, however Audi have by no means competed within the Method 1 World Championship. Nevertheless, their entry in 2026 will rekindle a Mercedes/Auto Union rivalry that dates again to pre-World Struggle II grand prix racing.

Mercedes and Auto Union race at Avus in 1937.

Whereas that historic rivalry has no relevance to modern-day motorsport, Wolff mentioned the general experience of the Volkswagen Group will allow Audi to flourish as he highlighted “the monetary energy, knowhow and motorsport experience to get an excellent undertaking off the bottom, and I feel the wedding with Sauber is one that matches”. 

Wolff additionally identified the authorized framework in Hinwil, a German-speaking area of Switzerland, is much like that in Germany – which implies a cultural conflict is unlikely to happen between the 2 events.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali thrilled by Audi’s arrival

Method 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali additionally welcomed the information of Audi’s arrival, saying it’s an “thrilling prospect” for F1 as a brand new, outstanding producer indicators as much as race.

“It’s nice information to listen to Audi could have a partnership with Sauber for his or her entry into Method 1 in 2026,” he mentioned.

“The mix of these two names is a really thrilling prospect for our sport.

“It highlights the sturdy momentum Method 1 has and the assumption in our technique to additional develop and improve the game whereas delivering on our sustainability plans to be Internet Zero Carbon by 2030 with superior sustainable fuels within the automobiles in 2026.

“We stay up for seeing their progress over the approaching years and the automotive on the grid for the staff’s first race.”

Learn Extra: Sauber to compete as Audi manufacturing unit staff from 2026 as partnership confirmed

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