Audi to bring in F1 development driver in 2023


Audi says it will bring in a development driver later this year to help with its F1 preparations and the progress of its 2026 power unit.

Audi will join Grand Prix racing's grid in three years, the Ingolstadt firm developing its own F1 engine while it will work in partnership with Sauber in which it will acquire a stake for the development of its chassis.

The manufacturer's F1 boss Adam Baker says its way too early for Audi to discuss its potential driver line-up for 2026 although it will rely on a development driver to conduct its all-important simulator work at its base at Neuburg.

Asked if Audi would be seeking to hire German talent, Baker made clear that the priority would be on performance rather than nationality.

"It would be attractive, of course, but for us the performance of the drivers has priority," the Audi F1 boss told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, insisting that driver selection was still "too far away".

"We’re not even talking about the drivers for 2024 yet, so it’s very difficult to say how the driver market will develop for 2026.

"[We will] bring a development driver on board in the third quarter [of 2023], who will be particularly important for our power unit development in the driving simulator in Neuburg".

Audi's first high-profile hiring for its F1 project was Andreas Seidl, who was unexpectedly poached from McLaren last month and who has been installed at Sauber's headquarters at Hinwil where the German will oversee the Swiss outfit's collaboration with its partner and investor.

But more hirings are underway insist to Baker.

"We are already internationally positioned here at the site and the recruiting process is also geared in this way," he explained.

"We are specifically approaching subject matter experts who already have Formula 1 experience.

"This is the first time since 2009 that a power unit has been developed in Germany. Therefore, if we want experienced personnel, we are more likely to find them in the UK, France or Italy."

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