Audi said it would announce what team it would work with later this year.
Audi hopes its entry to Formula 1 will provide a boost to the sport in Germany. There has not been a German Grand Prix since 2019 and, with the upcoming retirement of Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin, and Mick Schumacher of Haas facing an uncertain future, there may not be a German driver racing in Formula 1 next year.
“We haven’t decided on drivers,” Duesmann said. “But I hope we have a German driver, and I hope we have a German race.”
He was aware that entering Formula 1 was a challenge, but felt the change in the engine rules starting in 2026 would put all manufacturers on a more level playing field. “Ideally, within the first three years, we should be very competitive,” he said.
Andreas Seidl, the team principal of McLaren, knows how fierce Audi can be to face on the racetrack. From 2014 to 2017, he oversaw Porsche’s Le Mans team that raced and ultimately defeated Audi, which he expected to be a “very serious competitor.”
“Whenever Audi was going into a new category or starting a new project, they were very, very successful,” he said. “This is to be expected again from them entering Formula 1. I’m sure they will put in everything they need to be able to fight at the front as quickly as possible.”
One of the biggest rivals for Audi will be its fellow German carmaker, Mercedes. Audi wasted little time in making a cheeky comment, announcing its Formula 1 entry on Twitter, “Rumor has it: Rings are the new stars,” referring to its four-ring logo and Mercedes’ three-pointed star.
Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, took it as a compliment. “It’s good for the sport we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” he said, adding that Audi’s arrival “shows the strength of Formula 1 and the attraction it gives to the best brands in the world.”