Skip to main content

Audi hits milestones and meets goals for Audi Power Unit for 2026 F1 racing season

Audi started work in 2022 to be ready for 2026

Audi Formula Racing GmbH CTO Stefan Dreyer talking with an engineer at one of th Audi Power Unit test benches.
Audi Formula Racing GmbH recently announced that it has achieved its goals and met significant milestones on the Audi F1 Power Unit for the 2026 Formula 1 racing season. Working at a dedicated facility in Neuburg, Germany, the Audi team reports the complete F1 Power Unit running on a test bench. It runs simulated races based on F1 tracks, such as Singapore and Las Vegas.

Why the Audi Power Unit matters

Audi Formula Racing GmbH CEO Adam Baker and CTO Stefan Dreyer in a combustion engine workshop for the Audi Power Unit for F1.
In 2026, the Stake Kick Sauber F1 team, which currently uses Ferrari engines, will become an Audi factory works team. Audi established a separate business unit, Audi Formula Racing GmbH, to develop the hybrid power unit for the next-gen Formula 1 racecar. Working in private but in compliance with FIA F1 Rules and Regulations, Audi has been developing the Audi F1 Power Unit since 2022.

All F1 racecars must comply with the requirements for the 2026 season, but most of the work on the new racecars cannot begin before January 1, 2025. The next-gen racecar technical standards significantly differ from those of the cars running in the 2024 F1 calendar. The current standards will remain for the 2025 season while all F1 teams develop their new cars.

What has Audi accomplished with the Power Unit for F1?

Inside an Audi Formula Racing GmbH Audi Power Unit test bench.
“We gained a lot of testing time with the individual components in 2023 and were able to incorporate the experience gained into the next construction stages in parallel,” said Audi Formula Racing CEO Adam Baker.

“Today, we have 22 state-of-the-art test benches at the site,” CTO Stefan Dreyer added, “By testing on the test bench under simulated racing conditions we gain important insights in this phase of the project,” Dreyer continued.

Audi’s advantage

The FIA enforces cost caps for F1 teams to keep the motorsport from being controlled by teams willing to spend the most money. Audi’s Baker addressed the cost cap and explained why Audi has an advantage.

“Like all other Formula 1 teams and Power Unit manufacturers, we were faced with the challenge of setting ourselves up accordingly. It’s all about cost-cap efficiency and cost-cap conformity. One advantage was that we were able to start on a blank sheet of paper, so to speak, creating our own company, Audi Formula Racing GmbH, for the project,” Baker said.

“We had a clear picture of structures, systems, processes and the right mindset right from the start. The topic of finance has a direct impact on performance due to the cost cap. There has never been such a direct link between operational efficiency and sporting success in Formula 1. The fact that we can operate at the limit of the cost cap with PU development puts us on a par with our competitors,” Baker concluded.

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Cars teams. He also writes technology news…
A new poll suggests F1 2024 has a viewership problem — here’s why
Red Bull's Max Verstappen's domination bores some fans
Max Verstappen driving a Red Bull F1 race car.

The 2024 F1 Grand Prix racing season has barely begun, but a recent F1 viewership poll by suggests fans are less enthusiastic now than before the season began. Citing nearly 150,000 votes, the poll results claim 61% of respondents voted they were less excited about the rest of the F1 season than during the pre-season, with only 7% more excited and 32% unchanged. More recent events might swing a new poll in the opposite direction.

According to the poll report, the most common reason for fan disenchantment was Red Bull's Max Verstappen winning the first two races virtually unchallenged, continuing a winning phenomenon of the past two seasons. Well, Max didn't win the third race, the Australian Grand Prix, on March 24. In fact, he didn't even finish the race but retired the car when his right rear brake caught fire.
Why F1 viewership matters

Read more
How much do F1 drivers make?
Verstappen and Hamilton each likely earn more than $100 million
Max Verstappen driving a Red Bull F1 race car.

Do you mean they get money, too? During the Formula 1 racing season, F1 drivers travel to exotic locations, get treated like superstars, and drive incredibly fast cars to compete with some of the world's top drivers. They also get paid salaries estimated to start at $1 million per season and may earn a lot more in bonuses, prizes, endorsements, and sponsorships.

From the live event spectators' and TV viewers' perspectives, it may appear that F1 race car drivers lead glamorous lives, but the reality for even the best drivers is a relatively short career training, practicing, and performing under constant pressure. Aspiring F1 drivers start young, usually under 10, and focus on racing, hoping that by the time they reach the minimum F1 driving age of 18, an F1 team will want them. If a driver succeeds in getting a seat in an F1 race car, then the scrutiny of the intensely data-centric F1 world commences. F1 driver performance is measured in many ways, including salaries and overall income.
Why F1 driver salaries matter

Read more
How long is a Formula 1 race? Laps, time, and distance, explained
F1 races are measured in laps, not distance
Pirelli F1 racing tires on Red Bull Racing Formula 1 race car.

Formula 1 racing, the elite motorsport competition in the world, is fast and exciting. Extensive F1 rules and regulations cover technical, sporting, and financial matters. If you're new to F1 races, you probably have a ton of questions. A common question is, "How long is a Formula 1 race?"

Whether you're asking about distance or time, the answer is, "It depends on the race." I'll explain below why race distances and times vary in F1 racing, but here are approximate answers that apply to most F1 Grand Prix races. Except for Monaco, Grand Prix races are 305 kilometers or 189.5 miles long, plus a little bit, depending on the track. The one exception, the Monaco Grand Prix, covers 257 km or just under 160 miles. Grand Prix must be finished within two hours, except sometimes they can last up to three hours.

Read more