’Too late’ for change as Audi revs up 2026 F1 engine

"We’ve all have prototypes of our power units and batteries"


29 June 2024 - 11:22
'Too late' for change as (…)

Audi has revealed its all-new power unit for the revolutionary 2026 Formula 1 regulations has already done several race distances on the test bench.

The 2026 rules are currently a contentious topic in the paddock, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner’s proposal to turn down the ambitious electric power component now definitively rejected by fellow 2026 engine makers.

"In principle," said Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur, "less electric power might make sense from today’s perspective, but rowing back now would involve immense costs.

"We’ve all have prototypes of our power units and batteries on the test benches for a long time," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "It’s too late to turn back, unless the introduction of the new rules is postponed by a year."

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff agrees: "Far too expensive now. We’re already far too advanced with development.

"Perhaps we can do something about the power output," he added. "One possibility would be that the full electric power doesn’t always have to be available."

Formula 1 and its governing body, the FIA, regularly cite attracting new manufacturers like Audi as one of the key successful objectives of the 2026 regulations.

Audi’s F1 CEO Adam Baker appears to side with Ferrari and Mercedes in suggesting that development is now far too advanced for major rule changes for 2026.

Volkswagen subsidiary Audi already owns the Swiss team Sauber, which will rebrand as Audi’s full works team for the beginning of the new era.

"Our power unit, consisting of a combustion engine, electric motor, battery and control electronics, is running dynamically on the test bench," he said on the weekend of the Austrian GP.

"The Audi power unit has already covered simulated race distances on the test bench," Baker added. "Significant milestones and goals have been achieved, which gives the entire team a good feeling."

The German marque’s chief technology officer Stefan Dreyer added: "After the successful race distances with the power unit, we will soon be doing the same with the entire drive system, which means the combination of power unit and transmission.

"At the same time, we are going full throttle with performance development in order to achieve the goals we have set ourselves," he said.

Baker continued: "The fact that our entire team can fully concentrate on the development of the power unit for 2026 is an advantage for Audi.

"We made an early start with the 2026 concept team in Hinwil back in January 2023. This work is now being intensified with the current chassis regulations."

F1 - FOM - Liberty Media


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