Audi commits to 100% takeover of Sauber F1 team

Former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl transitions to Audi's F1 CEO.
  • Audi originally planned to control up to 75% of Sauber Formula One team
  • Oliver Hoffmann assumes responsibility for Audi’s F1 commitment

German automotive manufacturer Audi has committed to a 100 per cent takeover of the Sauber Formula One team.

The Volkswagen Group subsidiary first purchased a 25 per cent stake in the Swiss team in early 2023, with the intention of this share becoming 75 per cent by 2026.

However, Bloomberg reported last month that Audi’s strategy had shifted to a full takeover of the team. Now this has proven to be true, the Ingolstadt marque will have full control moving forward.

Andreas Seidl, who left McLaren to become chief executive of Sauber Group in 2023, will assume the same role with the new Audi team.

Audi added that Seidl would oversee the running of the Formula One project and act as the ‘face of the future Audi Formula One Team’.

Seidl said: “[I] am looking forward to leading Audi into Formula One together with a highly motivated team as CEO of the Audi F1 Team. We have a clear roadmap for how we want to become competitive in Hinwil as well as in Neuburg [Audi’s Formula One power unit facility].

“We have ambitious goals. Realisation of them is in progress and will be further accelerated through the complete takeover of Sauber by Audi AG.”

Oliver Hoffmann, who is currently heading Audi’s technical department, will take over responsibility for Audi’s Formula One commitment and becomes chairman of the board of directors of Sauber Group.

His position as a general representative will oversee the stake in the Swiss team, the development of Audi’s new power unit, and the ‘strategic steering and activation of the programme by Audi’.

Hoffman said: “Formula One is my big passion. I am convinced that, by bundling responsibilities and taking over 100 per cent 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 One team side, he will make a significant contribution to Audi’s Formula One project.”

BlackBook says…

Audi’s Formula One priorities changed when Markus Duesmann left the company at the end of last year.

The former chief executive was a driving force behind the German manufacturer’s decision to enter the series, but his replacement Gernot Döllner has clearly seen the need for more control.

The statement from the company claims this move is designed to ‘strengthen the Audi brand on the global stage’, which could be a reaction to Sauber’s decision to partner with online casino Stake for the next two seasons.

Audi will be able to do little about the existing deal, but this is likely a preemptive move to ensure the company’s values can be instilled early on in its Formula One tenure.

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