German auto manufacturer Audi has announced that it will purchase 100% of the Swiss motorsport engineering company Sauber, operator of Formula 1 (F1) motor racing’s Sauber F1 team.

Audi is already set to enter the sport in 2026 as an engine provider and had a deal in place for Sauber to become its factory team in exchange for a reported 75% stake in Sauber itself. Indeed, Audi already holds a stake in Sauber, having purchased 25% of the motorsport company in January 2023, and with new regulations set to change the sport in 2026, the manufacturer was going to enter with Sauber as its primary partner.

Now though, the German brand will purchase 100% of Sauber and the team will become Audi F1 Team, with current majority shareholder Swedish businessman Finn Rausing to be bought out entirely.

Sauber chief executive Andreas Seidl, who joined the team ahead of the 2023 season, will remain in that role at the new Audi brand while Audi technical department head Oliver Hoffmann will become the chair of all Sauber companies.

Hoffman stated of the takeover: “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.”

He continued: “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.”

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It is unlikely that Sauber’s presentation will change drastically before the 2026 season, with Audi having already shown reluctance to the idea of becoming a name partner of the team before it enters F1 as an engine manufacturer.

Until then, the team will likely continue as Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber for sponsorship reasons, with crypto-casino and sports betting platform Stake to serve as its title sponsor across 2024 and 2025.

The Sauber team has been part of F1 since 1993, and is based in Zurich, Switzerland. It used its own name between 1993-2005, and again between 2011-18.

Stake, and its streaming platform Kick, now serve as co-title sponsors of the team in a deal that has already caused trouble for Sauber and F1.

Multiple events on the elite-tier racing series’ calendar through 2024 take place in countries that have outlawed the promotion of gambling and sports betting firms, meaning that alternative car liveries and labeling omitting Stake branding must be used across multiple races each season.

Furthermore, the team is facing a legal penalty in its home country of Switzerland over the Stake partnership.

Gambling promotion is heavily regulated in Switzerland, but Alessandro Alunni Bravi, the team’s representative, stated his belief that it is compliant with all laws and regulations.