Hitting the gas: Audi confirms full takeover of Sauber

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Audi has put its foot on the gas, announcing an accelerated takeover of the Sauber team ahead of the manufacturer’s Formula 1 entry in 2026.

The move, which was widely reported earlier this week, confirms Audi’s commitment to its burgeoning F1 programme established in partnership with Sauber Motorsport.

Originally, the plan was for the Ingolstadt firm to gradually acquire a controlling stake in Sauber, reaching full ownership by 2026.

However, recent developments have led to a more aggressive timeline, with Audi securing approval for a complete takeover of Sauber from the current owner, Islero Investments AG, owned by Swedish billionaire Finn Rausing.

Furthermore, Audi has appointed Oliver Hoffmann, their former chief development officer, as chairman of the board for all Sauber companies. Hoffmann brings a wealth of experience to the table, ensuring a smooth transition and effective leadership.

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Working alongside Hoffmann will be current Sauber boss Andreas Seidl, who will assume the role of CEO of the future Audi F1 team.

The former Porsche LMP1 and McLaren F1 chief will shoulder the responsibility of leading the F1 project's day-to-day operations. He will also serve as the public face of the team, a role that leverages his experience and communication skills.

Manfred Doss, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Audi, explained: “The entry into Formula 1 is not only the pinnacle of Audi’s very successful history in motorsport, but also as big a sporting challenge as it is a financial commitment.

“Through the bundling of Oliver Hoffmann’s responsibilities and the complete takeover of the Sauber Group, we are accelerating our preparations for the 2026 season.”

Audi F1 Chairman Oliver Hoffmann with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

By taking full control of Sauber sooner, Audi gains greater control over the team's development and resources. This should allow for a more streamlined integration of its F1 project and a faster path to competitiveness.

Furthermore, given Hoffmann’s impressive track record with Audi Sport, the German’s appointment as chairman of the manufacturers’ F1 endeavor is a calculated move

During his tenure as head of technical development at Audi Sport, he spearheaded the latter’s victories in DTM and Formula E, two highly competitive racing series.

Also, his leadership was instrumental in Audi's groundbreaking achievement – becoming the first manufacturer to win the Dakar Rally with an electrified powertrain.

This expertise in both traditional and electric racing disciplines will prove invaluable for Audi's F1 aspirations, which are expected to coincide with the sport's increasing focus on sustainable technologies.

“Motorsport, particularly Formula 1, is my big passion” commented Hoffmann. “I am convinced that by bundling responsibilities and taking over 100% of Sauber Group, we will further accelerate our preparations for the launch in 2026.

“I am pleased we were able to secure the services of Andreas Seidl as Audi F1 Team CEO. He is exactly the right man for our ambitious plan.

“Thanks to his broad experience from leadership roles on the manufacturer and Formula 1 team side, he will make a significant contribution to Audi’s Formula 1 project.”

“I am looking forward to leading Audi into Formula 1 together with a highly motivated team as CEO of the Audi F1 Team,” added Seidl.

“We have a clear roadmap for how we want to become competitive in Hinwil as well as in Neuburg. We have ambitious goals. Realisation of them is in progress and will be further accelerated through the complete takeover of Sauber by AUDI AG.”

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