Audi Rumoured to Design Its Own Engine for 2026 Formula 1

Audi is set to participate in Formula 1 in 2026, but not as anyone might have expected. Although the luxury brand has to look to its parent company, Volkswagen, along with its partners and affiliates, Audi appears to have a few tricks up its sleeve concerning future races.

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Audi and Porsche to Join 2026 Formula 1​

Over the past few months, Volkswagen, the parent company of both Porsche and Audi, has expressed its interest in participating in Formula 1 while creating a cost-efficient and sustainable engine. Just recently, Volkswagen proposed that Porsche and Audi should collaborate to create this engine.

As Formula 1 fans and Audi enthusiasts speculate over the exciting possibilities of Audi and Porsche entering the race, many questions still go unanswered. While Volkswagen has hinted that the two companies would collaborate to design an engine for F1 use, rumour has it that one of the companies plans to do more than that.

The basis of this speculation has to do with the Formula 1 regulations, which are set to change by 2025 and will be in motion for 2026. The FIA, also known as the International Federation of Automobiles in English, released regulations saying that manufacturers must not only build lighter, more aerodynamic cars that burn less fuel, but that they should also build new hybrid engines that will require more electricity and less fossil fuels. Formula 1 has also planned to switch to sustainable fuels at a future date, which means engineers may have to imagine a new type of engine before then.

These requirements go hand in hand with Audi’s vision of creating a sustainable Formula 1 engine, and the company has expressed a desire to participate independently. This sentiment has created ripples, especially within the VW group, although no official statement has been made regarding the matter.

In-house Competing​

While brands of the same parent company have competed in Formula 1 before, the problem is that this goes against Volkswagen’s initial wish to participate in the race while keeping the budget low. Having two companies in the race greatly skews the financial limits, and it is uncertain whether Audi’s plan will be approved by Volkswagen.

Although neither Audi nor Porsche have made official statements about their position on the matter, one can assume that Porsche, then, would participate with Volkswagen’s partners, specifically Red Bull Racing, while Audi completes its project alone. While that may sound daunting, Audi actually has a pretty good advantage because it planned to finish the design Porsche started for a previous Formula 1 slot. At the same time, Audi faces a significant disadvantage in not having a trained team to drive the car.

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How Red Bull Plays a Role​

As Audi struggles to put together a team at the price that is on the table, Porsche has a strong advantage because of its collaboration with Red Bull Racing. The two companies share important partners, such as oil and fuel provider, Exxon Mobil. At the same time, Red Bull has also joined forces with a number of other reputable brands that pioneer technology and design including PokerStars and Oracle; Red Bull could help Porsche defeat the VW group’s internal rivalry while also gaining attention in tech markets. This could mark a particularly interesting development for the luxury car brand because Porsche has been known to make excellent engines and, with the help of the tech industry, the brand might just find even better ways to innovate existing products.

Red Bull is in a particularly good position for 2026 because it can enjoy the benefits of both Porsche and its previous client, Honda, which pulled out of F1 in 2021. Honda has promised to assist Red Bull as much as it can for the remainder of their contract, which will end in 2025. This could allow Red Bull extra Dyno testing and a higher budget cut, among other concessions that could seriously benefit Porsche’s chances of winning.

Porsche vs. Audi​

While faithful fans might be rooting for Audi, by the looks of it, Porsche is in very good hands as it is backed by both the VW group, Red Bull, and various sponsors. On the other hand, Audi has Porsche’s previous engine and could find a way to perfect it by the time 2026 comes around. In any case, Audi would certainly be fighting the underdog’s fight.

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