Sauber: Audi takeover remains on track despite management shifts

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Sauber has reasserted Audi’s commitment to its Formula 1 project and to its takeover of the Hinwil squad amid recent management changes at the German marque.

Hardly a week goes by without negative rumors emerging over Audi’s F1 plans. But last week the saga took a concerning turn when German publication Bild reported the potential departure of Oliver Hoffmann, a key figure credited with launching the Ingolstadt firm’s F1 project.

Speculation suggests that Hoffmann's potential exit is rooted in disagreements with current Audi CEO, Gernot Dollner regarding the company's direction, particularly in light of disappointing sales figures within the car division.

The Volkswagen Group, Audi's parent company, is expected to decide Hoffmann's future in March, with a possible outcome seeing him transition into the F1 project and working alongside Sauber CEO Andreas Seidl.

Despite the executive gyrations at Audi, Sauber representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi insists – and not for the first time – that the F1 takeover remains firmly on track.

“There is a strong commitment from the Audi Group at all levels,” Alunni Bravi told

“We always said that the decision to enter into F1 was not based on a decision of single individuals, but was based on the decision of the management board of Audi.

“And it’s then been confirmed by the advisory board of Audi and the supervisory board of VW Group. So the commitment is there.”

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Rumors within the Formula 1 community suggest that the investment needed to strengthen the team, linked to the gradual transfer of Sauber shares to Audi, has fallen short of what team principal Andreas Seidl had envisioned, potentially hindering the team's progress.

“The project is proceeding according to the timeline and the agreed governance between shareholders,” said Alunni Bravi.

“The dynamic within the board is not for us to comment on. But what we know is that we have a strong support.

“Andreas Seidl is working closely with the Audi people to develop our team towards 2026. This is what I think is important. Now there is some media speculation. It is normal that it is interesting to understand the status of the Audi project.

Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

“But for us, the status is a good one. We are working hard at every level, together with Audi, both in Hinwil and in Neuberg.

“There is no change, and as we are approaching more and more the target of 2026, we need to work even harder.”

Alunni Bravi also emphasized that the infrastructure upgrade at the Hinwil facility is progressing according to the established timeline, ensuring the team will be fully prepared to meet the necessary requirements.

“I've seen that in the press there are comments about whether or not Sauber in terms of structure is adequate to become the solid foundation for a works team,” he said.

“What I can say is when Audi decided to acquire the Sauber Group, there was a proper due diligence done at every level, including our facilities and the technology.

“We know that in order to become competitive for top positions we need to improve our facilities, to expand our facilities, our headcount, to invest in technology as all the teams are doing.

Audi Chief Development Officer Oliver Hoffmann.

“We have seen in the last four years teams build new wind tunnels, in order to have a state-of-the-art facilities. They have all invested in technology and in people. We are doing the same.

“According to the governance, we will have the resources to reach our target. F1 is a technology sport,” he added.

“So the journey is not a one-year journey. It's a process that we started under the leadership of Andreas, and we are working with the support of our shareholders.

“So there is and there will be everything to do to do a good job, according to the timing that is necessary to develop a works team from an independent team. It's a big step, of course.”

Finally, the Italian made clear that despite the current speculation surrounding Sauber’s venture with Audi, the team remains focused on ongoing discussions with potential drivers and crucial technical staff recruitment.

“I don't think there is a distraction because with all the parties that we are speaking with, drivers and engineers, the project is clear,” he said.

“They know exactly the timeline of our project, they know exactly who is the leader of our group, Andreas Seidl, and his vision.

“So we are fully transparent. I think that we have already performed a good recruitment plan, and we will see people coming each week.

“We are working hard, but as I mentioned, it is a long process. For me, there is no distraction. Of course, there is a lot of media speculation, as always in F1, but this is part of our sport. And I'm happy to see the interest around the project.”

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