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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Audi set to finish Sauber F1 takeover

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Autosport sister web site Motorsport-Whole.com understands the producer has accomplished the following stage of its Sauber takeover, with Audi board member Oliver Hoffmann appointed as a Sauber director above CEO and ex-McLaren F1 group principal Andreas Seidl.

Audi introduced its plans to enter a works group in F1 from 2026 on the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix in a presentation led by Markus Duesmann and Hoffmann.

However Duesman was replaced as Audi CEO late last year and successor Gernot Dollner is seemingly way more sceptical about an F1 assault.

Hoffmann, the agency’s chief improvement officer and F1 advocate, was additionally reportedly set to be sidelined as he took the blame for street automobile fashions being postponed and for sluggish gross sales figures. This elevated hypothesis that Audi was getting chilly toes and will even take into account promoting the nascent F1 undertaking.

Nonetheless, these rumours have now been largely dispelled. Having taken over 25% of Sauber in early 2023, it’s now believed that Audi will full its transaction with Sauber proprietor Finn Rausing. Whereas a 75% stake was initially circulated, Bild and Bloomberg report that Audi will realise a 100% takeover.

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On Wednesday, forward of the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP, Seidl is claimed to have appeared earlier than the group in Jeddah and confirmed to workers that Audi’s acquisition has now entered the ultimate stage. 

Showcar with Audi F1 launch livery

Picture by: Audi

When Audi introduced Sauber as a “strategic accomplice for Formulation 1 entry” in October 2022, the timeline was laid out as: “The growth of the location in Neuburg by way of personnel, buildings and technical infrastructure must be largely accomplished by 2023. The primary take a look at drives with the ability unit developed for the 2026 laws in a Formulation 1 take a look at automobile are deliberate for 2025.”

Addressing the early-2024 speculation that Audi was wavering in its F1 commitment, Sauber’s Alessandro Alunni Bravi mentioned: “The undertaking is continuing in line with the timeline and the agreed governance between shareholders.

“The dynamic inside the board just isn’t for us to touch upon. However what we all know is that we’ve got a robust help.

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“Andreas Seidl is working carefully with the Audi folks to develop our group in the direction of 2026. That is what I feel is vital.

“Now there’s some media hypothesis. It’s regular that it’s fascinating to grasp the standing of the Audi undertaking.

“However for us, the standing is an efficient one. We’re working onerous at each degree, along with Audi, each in Hinwil and in Neuberg.

“There isn’t any change, and as we’re approaching increasingly more the goal of 2026, we have to work even tougher.”

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