Audi begins F1 engine development and aims to run full hybrid unit this year · RaceFans

Audi have provided an update on the progress of their Formula 1 project at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition.

The German manufacturer presented its show car at the event under the slogan “F1 power made in Germany.” CEO Markus Duesmann and Oliver Hoffmann, a member of the brand’s management board for technical development, spoke to an audience in Audi’s biggest market for car sales.

Hoffmann revealed the progress Audi has made with the development of its F1 technology ahead of its 2026 entry into the world championship.

“The Audi F1 project has really taken off in recent months,” he said. “In the ongoing concept phase of the power unit, the foundation of our drivetrain for 2026 is being laid today. We attach great importance to detail work, for example on materials or manufacturing technologies, and we also focus on topics such as the energy management of the hybrid drivetrain.”

The drivetrain that has been worked on so far is a single-cylinder engine that has been active on test beds since the end of last year. The development of the test beds themselves is also an important part of the work being done before the complex engines begin to run.

Audi aims to have a full hybrid drivetrain, including all of the elements of a power unit that would go into an F1 car, to be tested before the end of this year. It intends elements of that model to be used in the development of other projects in its automotive portfolio. But to be ready for that, Audi has revealed its “dynamic development simulator in Neuburg” has to “be brought up to F1 standards” first.

To achieve that, there will be new test rigs built in addition to upgrading of current ones, with a target date of early 2024 for completion.

A team of 260 people in total are working on the F1 project, with several hires from the world championship in addition to the wide-ranging expertise the company already has across its many other projects. The headcount is expected to grow beyond 300 by 2023, when Audi expects its F1 workforce to be complete.

While China is a vital market for Audi, its round of the world championship has not been held since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are convinced that our Formula 1 commitment will strengthen Audi’s sporting focus,” said Duesmann. “The racing series is continuously increasing its global reach, especially among young target groups and in our most important sales market: China.”

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