Sauber set out three-year plan ahead of transition to Audi in 2026

Audi's F1 presentation with the rings on the mock up nose. Belgium August 2022 Credit: Alamy
Audi's F1 presentation with the rings on the mock up nose. Belgium August 2022 Credit: Alamy

Former Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur said the next three years would be used to build up Sauber’s facilities and spending for when Audi arrive.

At a time where there is plenty of rumoured and confirmed interest in new outfits getting involved with Formula 1, Audi have already called their shot by announcing a partnership with Sauber as of the 2026 season.

It will see them operate as an Audi works team with an Audi power unit, with the new generation of PUs coming into effect as of that 2026 campaign.

Until then, Sauber have three years to put the building blocks in place for Audi, with a piece of major business already done as Andreas Seidl left his team principal role at McLaren to become Sauber CEO.

The team does though need a new team principal in time for the 2023 campaign, with Vasseur having taken over from Mattia Binotto as Ferrari boss.

Speaking to reporters before his exit, Vasseur said: “We won’t have personnel for Audi involved into the team and the chassis operation, but we know that we have three years to build up something.

“We know that we have three years to increase the budget and to be at the cost cap, to work a lot to improve the facilities and so and I think honestly that three years is not too much. But it’s the perfect trend. And I think it was good timing also for Audi with the new regulation coming in on the engine side in ‘26 and it was the perfect fit.”

Since 2019, a link with car brand Alfa Romeo has seen the team operated by Sauber, but run as Alfa Romeo Racing with a livery that reflects the firm.

2023 will be the final season of this partnership, with a two-year gap then following for Sauber before Audi join the scene.

Vasseur said that while the team will be run by Sauber in that time, the team name may look a little different if a title sponsor is brought onboard.

“You have to disassociate the name of the team, which could be the title sponsor, and the name of the company,” said Vasseur.

“The name of the company will stay Sauber. The name of the chassis will stay Sauber, but we could have a title sponsor coming in.”

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