Audi announced on Thursday that former Red Bull Racing test and reserve driver Neel Jani has joined the German manufacturer as simulator driver in preparation for the company’s entry in the Formula One world championship in 2026. Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG said:

Just like in production development, simulation plays a major role in our Formula 1 project. Our simulator is an important tool for the power unit development. It requires a development driver who in addition to a grasp of technology brings versatile experience to the project, especially in terms of energy management in racing conditions,

As a member of the Porsche factory team, he won the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2016 as well as the famous 24-hour race at Le Mans and speaking about the news, Jani commented saying:

I am delighted to accompany Audi on their way into Formula 1. It is both an honor and a great responsibility to be involved in a project of this magnitude at an early stage. I am sure that with my experience from Formula 1 and LMP projects I can forge good links between theory and practice,

Since the end of 2022 testing of a one-cylinder engine has been delivering valuable results for the development of the power unit. The continuing concept phase is laying the performance-related groundwork of the power unit for 2026 when the new regulations provide for increasing electrification. The electric motor (MGU-K) will then deliver nearly the same output as the internal combustion engine. The highly efficient 1.6-liter turbo engines are powered by sustainable synthetic fuel.

Adam Baker, CEO of Audi Formula Racing GmbH. commented saying:

At the moment, we are mainly focused on fundamental concept questions with high relevance to performance. However, in evaluating various technical solutions we rely not only on digital methods. Know-how, experience and practically relevant development are indispensable elements of drawing the right conclusions from the simulation. With that combination, we can assess various operating strategies at an early stage and pave the way for efficient energy management of the power unit.


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