08 September 2022
Audi’s recent announcement at the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps Press Conference laid out plans for their future foray into F1.
Audi has ruled out starting a new team. Audi board chairman Markus Duesmann said that the ‘starting position for development is much better if you start with an existing car’, hence the push to find a partner.
It looks as though that party is Sauber, which currently operates Alfa Romeo’s F1 team.
One of the benefits of buying an existing team is that the significant ‘Joining Fee’ is avoided.
To enter F1, new teams must apply to the FIA for a license and pay an entry fee of $200 million. They must then build a car that adheres to the FIA’s guidelines before nominating two drivers to represent them.
If the deal goes ahead, Audi expects to acquire shares in Sauber from its current owner Finn Rausing.
Reportedly, Audi could acquire the first 25% of shares in Sauber as early as 2023. A further acquisition of shares up to 75% will occur in gradual tranches ahead of Audi’s entry in 2026, leaving Rausing with 25% control of the operation.
The total value estimated is Six hundred million dollars, so Audi would have to pay 450 million dollars for the 75 per cent share.
Formula 1 has seen more than 170 teams come and go over the years, with Ferrari being the only permanent fixture on the starting grid since the first Grand Prix in 1950.