Motor racing-Audi to take 100% ownership of Sauber F1 team


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March 8 (Reuters) - Audi will take 100% control of Swiss-based Sauber ahead of its transformation into the German carmaker's factory Formula One team from 2026, the Volkswagen-owned brand said on Friday.

Oliver Hoffmann will step down from Audi's management board to take overall responsibility for the Formula One programme while Andreas Seidl, already in place at Sauber's base in Hinwil in Switzerland, will run the team.

Audi CEO Gernot Doellner will take charge of the technical development division, previously headed by Hoffmann, in addition to his existing duties.

Audi said the supervisory boards of Volkswagen and Audi had voted for a complete takeover of the Sauber Group after agreement with current majority shareholder Islero Investments, linked to Swedish billionaire Finn Rausing.

The carmaker said in January 2023 that it had taken a minority stake in Sauber, without giving details.

Audi is making its own F1 power unit in Neuburg in Bavaria.

"The entry into Formula One 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," said Manfred Doess, chairman of Audi's supervisory board.

"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."

Seidl, a German, was team principal at McLaren before joining Sauber at the end of 2022.

"We have a clear roadmap for how we want to become competitive in Hinwil as well as in Neuburg," he said.

"We have ambitious goals. Realization of them is in progress and will be further accelerated through the complete takeover of Sauber by Audi AG."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Hugh Lawson)

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