Audi has formally confirmed plans to accelerate its takeover of the Sauber Formula 1 team, ahead of the German manufacturer’s entry into grand prix racing in 2026.

As reported by earlier this week, Audi has approved plans for a full takeover of the shareholding of the Sauber team from current owner Islero Investments AG. This had initially only been expected to be completed by 2026.

Audi has also outlined further commitment to the project, having appointed Oliver Hoffmann, its former chief development officer, to become chairman of the board of directors of all Sauber companies.

Hoffmann will work with Andreas Seidl, who has also been announced as CEO of the Audi team.

Seidl will be responsible for the implementation of the F1 project and overall management – as well as being the public face of the squad.

Manfred Doss, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Audi, explained: “The entry into Formula 1 is not only the pinnacle of Audi’s very successful history in motorsport, but also as big a sporting challenge as it is a financial commitment.

“Through the bundling of Oliver Hoffmann’s responsibilities and the complete takeover of the Sauber Group, we are accelerating our preparations for the 2026 season.”

Oliver Hoffmann with Markus Duesmann at Audi F1 car presentation 2022

The decision by Audi to fast-track its takeover of Sauber and reshuffle its management structure comes with the company eager to ensure it hits the ground running for the start of its F1 venture.

Hoffmann has a long history with Audi. As head of Audi Sport's technical development he achieved success for the manufacturer in DTM and Formula E. Audi also became the first manufacturer to win the Dakar Rally with an electrified powertrain.

Speaking about his change of position, Hoffmann said: “Motorsport, particularly Formula 1, is my big passion. I am convinced that by bundling responsibilities and taking over 100% of Sauber Group, we will further accelerate our preparations for the launch in 2026.

“I am pleased we were able to secure the services of Andreas Seidl as Audi F1 Team CEO. He is exactly the right man for our ambitious plan. Thanks to his broad experience from leadership roles on the manufacturer and Formula 1 team side, he will make a significant contribution to Audi’s Formula 1 project.”

Seidl, who became Sauber CEO after leaving McLaren at the end of 2022, added: “I am looking forward to leading Audi into Formula 1 together with a highly motivated team as CEO of the Audi F1 Team.

“We have a clear roadmap for how we want to become competitive in Hinwil as well as in Neuburg. We have ambitious goals. Realisation of them is in progress and will be further accelerated through the complete takeover of Sauber by AUDI AG.”