Audi reveals plans to test it's new prototype engine this year
Audi have provided an update that they will soon be testing the engine for their upcoming Formula 1 entry as part of a presentation at the Auto Shanghai exhibition, with key stakeholders in attendance.
Audi announced at last year’s Belgian Grand Prix that they will join the F1 grid when the new engine regulations come into effect which will be featuring increased electrical power and 100% sustainable fuels for the 2026 season.
Audi already owns a minority stake of the Sauber team, which is currently competing under the Alfa Romeo name, and will increase that to a controlling stake ahead of the Swiss outfit becoming it's works team.
Audi has a single cylinder test engine in operation at its motorsport base in Neuburg an der Donau, Germany as of late 2022. This is, according to Audi, providing “valuable insights” for the development of the F1 power unit, which will feature energy recovery systems increased to 350kW compared to the current 120kW with the MGU-H dropped for 2026.
In an accompanying press release, Audi confirmed that their first full hybrid drivetrain, comprising a combustion engine, electric motor, battery and electronic control unit is scheduled to run on the test bench before the end of this year. Whichbwill be forming the basis for the future vehicle concept.
This will be an important step in its development programme, with the intention to run its final design in a mule car at some point in 2025 ahead of its F1 debut the following year.
Audi has also said that “the dynamic development simulator in Neuberg will be brought up to Formula1 standards and will further advance the development of the Audi power unit”.
This is part of the expansion of Audi’s Neuberg facility, which it claims now has 260 personnel working on the project with a blend of existing Audi personnel and established F1 specialists who have joined. They work under the leadership of CEO Adam Baker, who joined Audi in 2021.
Work is also ongoing on a new building at Neuberg that began in early December last year. This is due to be completed in the first quarter of next year and will house its test benches, mechanics workshop and around 60 employees.
“The Audi Formula 1 project has really taken off in recent months,” said Audi technical development managing board member Oliver Hoffmann.
“In the ongoing concept phase of the power unit, the foundation of our drivetrain for 2026 is being laid today. We attach great importance to detail work, for example on materials or manufacturing technologies, and we also focus on topics such as the energy management of the hybrid drivetrain. After all, efficiency is a key success factor for Formula 1 and the mobility of the future, these approaches will advance both worlds.”
Audi chose to present its F1 project at Auto Shaghai, along with the Audi F1 show car that first appeared when the programme was announced at Spa last year, is a reminder of the importance of the Chinese market to F1.
The Chinese Grand Prix is set to return to the calendar next year having not run since the 2019 event.