Audi confirms intention to sign ‘preferably German’ F1 driver this season despite only getting right to entry in 2026

Audi continues to be a team whose entry in F1 is highly-awaited by fans, given its vast popularity outside the sport.

The team has already expressed its interest in entering F1 following the sharp increase in popularity of the sport ever since Liberty Media purchased it from Bernie Ecclestone.

Adam Baker, CEO of Audi’s racing branch, is keen to sign a driver as early as 2023 who can help the team with its power unit development and provide general feedback.

Audi will formally takeover Sauber in 2026 and will be the sport’s newest factory team, which means they will be producing their own engines.

With that in mind, Baker wants Audi to give a good account for itself and it will be imperative to recruit some of the best minds in the business in order to accentuate the team’s rise in F1.

Baker was asked if the prospect of signing a German driver (hint: Sebastian Vettel) might be a more interesting option for the team.

“It would be attractive, of course, but for us the performance of the drivers has priority,” Baker said.

H6 and signing anyone with that period in mind may not be prudent.

Instead, they just want to focus on the development aspect for now.

“[We will] bring a development driver on board in the third quarter [of 2023], who will be particularly important for our power unit development in the driving simulator in Neuburg,” he said.

Andreas Seidl has made the switch from McLaren to Sauber over the winter break and will serve as the team’s new principal, following the departure of Frederick Vasseur to McLaren.

Seidl’s appointment has reportedly been made keeping Audi’s entry in mind and the Volkswagen team is confident he has the required skills to help them shine.

It has further been reported by Sky Sports Germany that Audi will be recruiting 300 members of staff to work for them by the end of the 2023 season.

This was confirmed by Baker.

“We are already internationally positioned here at the site and the recruiting process is also geared in this way. We are specifically approaching subject matter experts who already have Formula 1 experience,” he said.

“This is the first time since 2009 that a power unit has been developed in Germany. Therefore, if we want experienced personnel, we are more likely to find them in the UK, France or Italy.”

Audi is being smart ahead of F1 entry

It will be good for fans to see the proactive approach shown by Audi despite its entry in the sport still a few years away.

With such a defined strategy and a mass recruitment spree set to take place, it seems clear that the team will leave no stone unturned to establish its credentials in the sport.

The fact that engine regulations will change in 2026 also means that most teams will start off on a blank slate.

With Audi not involved in any F1 action till then, it goes without saying that they will be focussing all their energies keeping only the 2026 regulations in mind.

Therefore, any disadvantage they may have in F1 owing to not participating in the sport could be overcome through smart recruitments as well as a defined strategy keeping 2026 regulations in mind.

Read more: Jenson Button makes ‘epic’ 2023 prediction that goes against recent F1 trend – “No reason why they can’t”

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