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Audi to F1: a costly mistake?

Written by William Stephens, Edited by Ishani Aziz

Credit: SRO

Audi Sport had remained elusive for some time as to its entrance to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship for 2026 as an engine supplier. While this exciting entry has been recently confirmed, with Audi set to partner with Alfa Romeo Sauber (as it is currently named), might the nature of this entry into Formula 1 cost Audi more than expected?

Audi abandoned an LMDH project at around the same time that rumours of the manufacturer’s entry to F1 began. LMDH is the new top class of endurance racing for WEC (world endurance championship) and IMSA under the names LMH ( Le Mans hypercar) and GTP respectively Audi along with Porsche and many other manufacturers committed to it when the rules were announced several years ago Audi has become the first to publicly back out. This indirectly damaged Audi’s relationship with one of its biggest customer teams WRT who were looking to continue with Audi into LMDH alongside its strong GT3 program.

WRT then announced it would no longer be using Audi’s GT3 after the end of the 2022 season before announcing a partnership with Audi's German rival BMW for the coming seasons with factory GT3 and LMDH support.

With this loss, the Audi GT3 program will have lost a considerable amount of money which would likely have been used for its F1 project. This also means that Audi will have less presence in the world's GT3 racing, as WRT ran a majority of cars in Europe and the world stages, which will likely damage the indirect promotion Audi gets during such events.

Audi’s entry into F1 has potentially damaged its relationships to race teams (and their drivers) that are outside the F1 world. It may also cost them in future, as their abandonment of subsequent projects could portray them as less committed.

1 comment

1 Comment

Nov 10, 2022

I suspect Audi will be ok William. If they had continued with the LMDH project then only absolute success would have been acceptable, like their 24hrs domination of the 2000s. In terms of GT3 presence, I suspect that their journey had kind of run its course there too, they have had a strong presence for a long time and probably rung out as much PR and marketing value as they felt they could.

It all lines up for me that they are throwing lots of resourse, both people and cash at the F1 project. Success there would no doubt trump any kind of return they have got recently in other categories. For instance I know a fair number of Aud…

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