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Audi F1 Boss: We have to be realistic

Audi F1 Boss: We have to be realistic

Audi F1 Boss: We have to be realistic
Audi’s Formula 1 project leader Adam Baker tried to manage expectations about the German company’s prospects when they join F1 in 2026, insisting they have to be realistic.

Baker – an Australian with a German nationality is the CEO of Audi’s Formula Racing GmbH, and Project leader for F1. He was speaking in an event in Madrid, Spain where the automaker revealed their F1 plans on Monday.

Audi announced back in August that they will become a power unit supplier for F1 starting from 2026, but did not disclose further information regarding having a works team.

“We would love to be competitive right from the start, but we have to be realistic,” Baker told the media during the event. “We want to be in a position to be competitive to win races from the third year onwards.

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“We understand the size of the challenge ahead of us. We are aware, but we want to show that we can work and achieve success. We know well what the challenges are,” he added.

Baker has previous F1 experience

According to his biography on Audi’s website, Baker worked as a race team engineer for the F1 engine manufacturer Cosworth and was assigned assigned to the customer teams Arrows (2002), Jordan (2003), and later the Jaguar factory team (2004).

At the beginning of 2005, he became the Engine Team Leader for the customer team Minardi. In mid-2005, he transferred to BMW Motorsport as a race team engineer for the BMW Williams F1 team and then the BMW Sauber F1 team before becoming the head of the race and test team in 2007 for the BMW F1 powertrain.

Speaking of what he believed would be an advantage for Audi, Baker said: “If we compare ourselves with the other brands, we are in a different situation.

“For starters, we have a long time until our debut, there are 42 months to our first race. Also, we are at the beginning of the 2026 regulations, so we are at the beginning of the cycle. As an entry point, 2026 is a very attractive year.

“To achieve success in Formula 1 you have to have it all,” he insisted. “We’re going to do everything we can to achieve that, not just develop an engine, we’re going to invest in the whole team.

“Now we are about 130 people working on the project and in the end we believe we will be more than 300 workers,” Baker revealed.

There are reports linking Audi with Sauber, who own the Alfa Romeo F1 team, especially as Alfa Romeo announced they will leave F1 at the end of 2023, but Baker did not disclose any information on the topic.

No updates on the reported talks with Sauber

He said: “In principle, we will work with a partner that already exists and we will give details before the end of the year.

“It is possible that the regulations will force us to supply engines to other teams, but right now we are focused on our work program.

“We can’t talk about Sauber. Finding the right partner is essential, that’s what will give us success in the future,” the Australian maintained.

On the drivers’ front, Baker said: “As for drivers, we know there is a lot of interest, but it’s a bit early. There are three and a half years left and in that time there can be many changes. We’re going to have to integrate some drivers into our program in 2025 or as early as 2024 or 2023, someone in the simulator, development drivers.”

He further shared some updates on the status of Audi’s program, and said: “We have already started with the development of the drive system, and for the rest we are moving forward looking for compromise solutions, because the full technical regulations will not be published until 2024, where we will be able to see everything related to the chassis.

“Our plans are to start track testing in mid-2025, probably in Spain. But our whole agenda is in draft form right now,” Baker concluded.