Alfa Romeo-Sauber have denied reports that future owners Audi will pull the plug on its planned takeover of the team before its scheduled entry into Formula 1 in 2026.
Rumours have circulated that the Audi project might be scrapped, with speculation the company’s board would meet to decide whether to continue their F1 project at an upcoming audit meeting.
But a Sauber and Audi spokesperson told Total Motorsport.com that the suggestion of an Audi pullout is untrue, and preparations for 2026 are going according to plan.
“Audi’s F1 entry in 2026 is based on a decision of the Board of AUDI AG in alignment with the Supervisory Board of AUDI AG,” an Audi spokesperson said when asked about the project’s future. “As well as the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Group.
“The schedule of Audi Formula Racing GmbH for the build-up of the organisation and the development of the 2026 F1 Power Unit at the site in Neuburg/Germany remains unchanged.”
Audi announced they would make their long-awaited Grand Prix debut in 2026 at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, purchasing Sauber, which has been run under the Alfa Romeo banner since 2019.
Sauber’s long history with manufacturers
Throughout its 30-year history in F1, Sauber have been the factory team for several key names in the sport, with varying degrees of success.
In 1993, Sauber first entered the sport with Mercedes Benz, scoring points in their first GP at Kyalami, with JJ Lehto finishing sixth following a late-race battle with Derek Warwick.
Mercedes replaced McLaren as Peugeot’s engine supplier for 1995, leaving Sauber to team up with Ford as its factory team until they partnered with Jackie Stewart’s Stewart Grand Prix in 1997.
Ford power helped Sauber secure their first two F1 podiums, with Heinz Harald Frentzen finishing third at the 1995 Italian GP and Johnny Herbert in the same position at Monaco in 1996.
Sauber then switched to customer Ferrari engines, rebranded as Petronas as part of a collaboration deal between both companies from 1997 until 2005, before BMW brought the team from founder Peter Sauber in 2006.
Under BMW ownership, Robert Kubica took Sauber’s one and still only victory with a famous 1-2 in the 2008 Canadian GP before the Munich manufacturer pulled out of F1 in 2009.
Since BMW’s withdrawal, Sauber have received customer Ferrari engines from 2010, achieving some success and finishing as high as sixth in the constructor’s championship in 2012 and 2022.