Audi announced at the last Belgian GP that it will enter F1 as a power unit manufacturer from the start of the new cycle of regulations that will come into force in 2026, in which the MGU-H will be eliminated and the fuel will be adopted. completely sustainable.
Although official confirmation is still pending, it is expected that Audi will buy a part of the Sauber team and that the chassis of its single-seaters will be built in the Swiss facilities.
Sauber , which currently competes under the Alfa Romeo name, which will cease to be the case at the end of 2023, is doing well within the current cost cap. But it goes without saying that the requirement for its owner, Finn Rausing, to accept investment from Audi , in addition to buying the shares, is the payment of a further 250 million euros to develop the team and retain current jobs.
In theory, this will help to solve Sauber’s current limitation, since according to Valtteri Bottas, the team’s current driver, “more personnel” are needed to produce parts that improve the car.
Should that be achieved, the Finn believes that there is “nothing to indicate” that the team cannot win again in Formula 1.
Bottas said: “In terms of what the factory is like and the staff that we have at the moment, yes, it can be [one of the big teams].”
“But the point is that there are still some teams that have more strength in that sense, more personnel.”
“I would say that we need to have more people in production, because right now, even though we have some parts that are already drawn and have been wind tunnel tested and look faster, we just can’t get them done fast enough.”
“That means there’s more potential in the team, and I think we’re unlocking that.”
“From what I’ve seen from the wind tunnel and from the factory, the necessary facilities are there.”
“There is nothing that indicates that it is not possible to win,” said Alfa Romeo .
Sauber is currently in sixth place in the 2022 constructors’ championship and is on course to achieve its best result since 2012, the year in which it managed four podium finishes.
His only victory in a top-flight motorsport race came in 2008, when Robert Kubica claimed victory at the Canadian Grand Prix.
During that period, between 2006 and 2009, it was the last time that Sauber raced with a full manufacturing partner thanks to its union with BMW , but they decided to abandon the project in the midst of the financial crisis, leaving the Swiss structure in the lurch.
Waiting for the new deal with Audi to be announced, Bottas acknowledged that he still hopes to be racing in F1 when the four rings mark arrives in 2026.
“I really feel like at the moment I can continue,” he told Motorsport.com. “I’m enjoying myself a lot right now and I still feel like I can drive fast. In the future, I don’t see any reason not to. I still feel like I have a lot to give in this class,” concluded the Finn.