Audi ‘hiding’ partnership deal with Alfa Romeo; Sebastian Vettel to be marquee driver of new team

Ever since Liberty Media took control of F1 in the post-Bernie Ecclestone era, the sport has made great strides in terms of attracting new audiences.

The Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive has also undoubtedly played a big part in the sharp increase in the sport’s numbers.

With an entirely new segment now very much glued to their sets for the latest F1 news, it goes without saying that prominent car manufacturers are also paying closer attention to the sport.

Liberty Media has ensured that barriers to entry in F1 have significantly reduced.

Teams no longer need to invest mammoth sums of money to remain competitive.

Rather, the introduction of a budget cap has made it (in theory) a far more even playing field.

Of the top car companies that have expressed an interest in being part of the highest level of motorsport, the Volkswagen Group is possibly the most awaited entrant.

With 2026 primed to be the year when major changes are made with respect to regulations, most teams are expected to wait before jumping on the bandwagon.

Audi has already bought a significant stake in Sauber

Alfa Romeo. Credit:

Early reports indicate that Red Bull is likely to partner up with Porsche as its engine supplier. Audi, meanwhile, is looking to enter the sport in a 50% partnership with an existing team.

While the name of this team was previously unknown, an unnamed team boss seems to have confirmed that Audi will partner Sauber, having already bought 25% shares in the company.

Audi will be majority owners, according to this source, who claims that Audi will purchase 50% more equity in Sauber.

“I don’t understand why Sauber and Audi are still hiding their collaboration,” said the team boss.

“Audi secured 25 percent of the shares some time ago. And another 50 percent are to come. This is a really big sum of money.”

As of now, Sauber races under the banner of Alfa Romeo. However, neither party has gone public with this information till now.

When pressed on whether a partnership was around the corner, Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur didn’t commit.

“For me, Williams is the favourite. They have very good relations with VW and Germany,” he said.

It could simply just be a case of keeping the deal under wraps till things are more concrete.

Vettel will be in high demand

Sebastian Vettel. Credit:

Meanwhile, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is believed to be high on the radar of both Porsche and Audi.

It is rumoured that both teams would jump at the prospect of having such an illustrious name lead their team and the fact that Vettel is German makes it an even sweeter deal.

While Vettel knows that there may well be interest in his services, there remains some doubt over whether he will be in the sport till then.

However, he felt happy to learn about new teams looking to mark an entry.

“I think it’s good news that there’s talk of new teams like Andretti and big manufacturers coming in. F1 seems to grow in popularity so who knows what the sport is going to look like in ’26,“ Vettel said.

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