On September 27, the German car manufacturer Audi will officially announce its entry as a partner in the Swiss Sauber team.
What a poorly kept secret in Formula 1 however seems to have come to an official conclusion.
On his Twitter channel, Thursday morning, Sauber, which will compete in Formula 1 until the end of 2023 as Alfa Romeo thanks to a sponsorship agreement, announced “an announcement soon”, specifically for September 27.
The tweet has the hashtag #KeepMakingHistory – which means “Let’s keep making history!”
It was immediately clear to industry insiders that this could only be an announcement of Audi’s plan, and “Motorsport-Total.com” was able to confirm this through additional research.
How important the data for Audi’s entry at Sauber will look like is still the subject of speculation at the moment. Recently, there was talk of acquiring 75 percent of the team’s shares (by 2026), and the transaction was carried out in several parts, which could start at the level of 25 percent.
Former team owner Finn Rausing (Tetra Pak) wants to keep the remaining 25 percent for himself, at least according to the latest information from “Radio Paddock”. However, according to informed circles, the team will be called Audi and will be seen as a “pure” works team.
A new chapter in the history of Sauber Motorsport
A new chapter begins for the Sauber team. Company founder Peter Sauber sold his last shares to the investment company Longbow Finance in 2016, where the Rausing family also appeared as partners for the first time.
Alfa Romeo has been the title sponsor of the Swiss racing team since 2018 and has also been the sole name since 2019. However, the partnership with the Alfa Romeo brand will end at the end of 2023 – an inevitable consequence of Audi’s entry, because otherwise the two manufacturers of competing cars would belong to the same team.
What’s new from Porsche?
While Audi’s entry into Formula 1 from 2026 is already taking solid form, there is still no complete information from sister company Porsche. According to reports, no partnership with the existing team will be considered after Red Bull’s contract is broken, but alternatives will be explored.
It is also not an issue, at least according to the information from ‘Motorsport-Total.com’, a partnership with Michael Andretti, who wants to enter Formula 1 as Porsche. Andretti-Porsche certainly has its fans, both among fans and in the Formula 1 paddock.
Why is Wolff against Andretti but Andretti-Porsche?
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, for example, had openly opposed allowing Andretti, a privately run team, to enter Formula 1’s exclusive club as an eleventh entrant. However, if Andretti had a world-renowned OEM like Porsche, he would change his mind.
“If someone is new to Formula 1, everyone is free to contact the FIA,” says Wolff. “Then the FIA and Formula 1 have to understand whether such a team can be profitable for our business. That has not been the case so far.”
“But now, when the team comes together with the OEM, the requirements are completely different. I say this from my point of view as a shareholder of the team: If the bread becomes bigger, I have no problem sharing the bread with more people than before. .”
What Wolff means by that: While the Andretti team would undoubtedly be popular with fans, the financial benefit it could bring to Formula 1 is manageable. A manufacturer like Porsche, on the other hand, usually has big blue-chip sponsors who, for example, advertise at racetracks and thus expand the cake for everyone.
If the pie is not big enough, existing teams tend not to share with more people. Wolff explains: “Formula 1 is successful because we have ten teams with their DNA who have invested several billions in Formula 1 over the years. That is what made Formula 1 what it is today.”
Wolff: A lot of controversy in the conversation about his influence
The investment that they made they want to protect. Wolff has never made a secret of his position on this matter. At the same time, however, he insists that he does not have the authority to make decisions: “I can give my opinion. But I think Mohammed (bin Sulayem, President of the FIA) and Stefano (Domenicali, CEO of Formula 1; editor’s note) will make the decisions. their own.”
“It doesn’t matter what I say: If Stefano thinks that this will bring a lot of sponsorship money, he will support it. And if the FIA thinks that the eleventh team will be good for Formula 1, they will also support it. The teams have nothing to say. All this talk that Toto has “The biggest influence in alienating other teams is pure conflict,” says Wolff.
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