Audi’s 2026 F1 Entrance: What Are Fans Looking Forward To?

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This year’s Formula One season has been one for the books. Though people wondered whether Red Bull and Max Verstappen could take on a consecutive win, it seems impossible now that anyone could stop the driver—especially with teammate Sergio Perez close behind on the leaderboards.

But not everybody is keeping their focus on the current season. Last year, Audi announced its plans to join Formula One Racing—and it recently confirmed a partnership with Sauber to launch its 2026 entrance. At the moment, there’s limited information available aside from this announcement.

The Swiss motorsport group is the first strategic partner announced for Audi, leading many to speculate about other potential partnerships. Compared to other sports leagues, F1 has a few iconic sponsor partners. For example, Red Bull Racing recently partnered with PokerStars.

Since joining forces, the company has released a video series that compares poker skills with F1 techniques—and it’s proved popular for fans of both. Titled ‘Between the Lines’, the final episode recently covered making split-second decisions in the pit and at the table.

As fans await more information regarding Audi’s upcoming debut in F1, let’s count down some possibilities for the racing series in 2026.

Another Wrench in the Constructor Lineup

If there’s one idea that has fans talking this year, it’s the recent rise of Aston Martin. Despite a slow start thanks to various infringements in 2021 and a series of penalties in 2022, the constructor has hit its stride this year. Lance Stroll remains a top driver, but it's Fernando Alonso, at age 41 and presumed to be at the end of his career, who has taken F1 by storm.

It’s led to the question—could Audi experience a similar rise when it enters F1 in 2026? The constructor has never competed before, but as Aston Martin’s success story hints, it might only need a serious infusion of cash to rise to the top decisively. But does the Volkswagen Group, owner of Audi, have the vision and funds to accomplish this?

The Engine Regulation Shake-Up

There’s another reason fans are diving head-first into Audi’s announcement. The same year the new constructor will start competing is the same year F1 will be implementing major changes to its engine regulations. In 2026, constructors are expected to rely heavily on electrical power, specifically with the goal of making F1 carbon neutral by the year 2030.

Audi’s announcement came around the same time as the confirmation by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on the changes. It’s positioned the German brand at an interesting point in F1, during which time constructors must prioritize sustainability with the same care as they do winning.

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A Chance to Dethrone Verstappen

The 2026 engine regulation shake-up is expected to have a lasting effect on Formula One Racing—which could take years for constructors to adjust to. In other words, it will be a make-or-break period for Audi. If they enter F1 with a quality engine that meets all of the new regulations, they may be in a position to overthrow Red Bull and Verstappen.

To be fair, it’s unclear whether Verstappen and Red Bull’s dominance will continue until 2026—especially with Aston Martin nipping at their heels. Considering team principal Christian Horner has also been pushing back at engine regulation changes, some think that Red Bull’s hold might be looser on F1 than many think.

All Eyes on Sauber

Currently, Sauber is the works team behind Alfa Romeo—but considering Audi will replace Alfa Romeo in 2026, it’s no surprise that Alfa Romeo terminated its partnership with Sauber effective at the end of 2023. So, what could the team bring to Audi, which already has a legacy, and is it prepared for a 2026 restart?

Audi announced that Sauber will be responsible for developing and manufacturing their vehicle from their base in Switzerland, while Audi will continue working on the power unit from Germany. Could the Swiss engineering company finally find a way to get its vehicles into a podium finish?

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